Non-Toxic Toys for Your Toddler

No doubt the safety of your children is your top concern, especially when it comes to the toys they play with daily. Toddlers are particularly at risk: they’re no longer easily amused by simple toys, and they tend to put toys in their mouths. This makes the presence of toxins in toy materials a significant concern. Here’s a comprehensive guide to choosing non-toxic toys for your toddler, ensuring they can play safely and you can worry less.

Understanding Toy Safety Standards

Before diving into specific tips, it’s crucial to understand the safety standards in place for children’s toys. In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sets guidelines and regulations to ensure toys are safe and free of many harmful chemicals. However, adherence to these standards isn’t always perfect, and recalls do happen. Safety standards alone don’t provide a guarantee that toys are safe.

The Problem with Plastic

Many plastics contain harmful chemicals like phthalates, PFAS, and Bisphenol A (BPA) and its alternatives ( which may be even worse ). There are no laws or standards for labeling when these chemicals are used, and most manufacturers who use external suppliers may not even know that these chemicals are in their materials.

Because of this, all plastic is somewhat suspect. You can, however, make a few better choices that reduce the likelihood of toxins in your toys:

Better yet, opt for toys made from natural materials.

Safer Toys for Toddlers

Choosing toys made from materials like wood and cotton can help avoid the problem with plastic altogether. You’ll find my favorite toddler toys below. Check back as the list grows!


Choose wooden toys that are unpainted or treated with natural, non-toxic finishes like beeswax or jojoba oil. Avoid wood treated with formaldehyde or heavy chemicals, or painted with polyurethane (plastic) coatings.

Wood toys I love:

Silicone and Rubber

These materials make great soft toys that may end up in little mouths. Be sure that you don’t fall for tricky marketing – toys should be “100% silicone” or “natural rubber” only. Kids with latex allergies should avoid rubber toys, but silicone is safe for everyone.

My favorites:

Natural Fabric

For stuffed toys or cloth materials, select items made from organic cotton or wool. Avoid plastic fabrics like nylon and polyester, and especially avoid fuzzy synthetic fabrics – the fuzz will come off with use and no doubt end up in your child’s mouth.

Organic cotton toys I love:

Do you have a favorite natural-material toy that I missed? Let me know!

More Tips for Toy Safety

Read Labels and Certifications

Look for certifications that guarantee toy safety, such as the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), which indicates that a toy meets international safety standards.

Certifications like the Oeko-Tex Standard ensure that textiles are free from harmful substances.

Choose Reputable Brands

Invest in toys from brands committed to producing non-toxic, eco-friendly products. These companies often provide detailed information about the materials and processes used, offering transparency that helps you make informed decisions.

Avoid Toys with Small Batteries or Magnets

Toys with small parts, batteries, or magnets pose not only a choking hazard but also a risk of internal injury if swallowed. Ensure any battery compartments are secure and inaccessible to curious toddlers.

DIY Toys

Consider making your own toys from safe, natural materials. Homemade play dough, wooden blocks, and fabric dolls can be excellent alternatives to store-bought toys and offer a fun, creative activity for parents and children.

Regularly Check for Recalls

Stay updated on toy recalls by checking the CPSC website or subscribing to recall notifications. This proactive approach helps you remove unsafe toys from your child’s environment promptly.

Learn About Common Toxins

Familiarize yourself with the most common toxins found in toys, including lead, cadmium, and chemical plasticizers. Understanding these substances and their effects can help you better evaluate toy safety.

Clean Toys Regularly

Keeping toys clean reduces the risk of bacteria and germ transmission. Use natural cleaning agents like vinegar or baking soda to safely disinfect toys without introducing harsh chemicals.

Choosing non-toxic toys for your toddler is a crucial step in promoting a safe and healthy development environment. By being vigilant about the materials, manufacturing practices, and the overall quality of the toys you select, you can ensure that playtime is both fun and safe.

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