Friday, September 17, 2010

Toxins in Toys and Safe Alternatives

Unless you've been living under a rock (or tv-less like me, lol) you've probably heard the growing controversy over the last couple of years over lead, phthalates, BPA, etc. in toys and other products.

It makes me really angry that the government wants to regulate the heck out of thrift stores and second hand children's stores (thereby putting them out of business) over the lead issue, and yet major companies just somehow are accidentally letting lead-filled toys slip into this company.

These money-grubbing, child-endangering bastards need to be taught a lesson...and if the government won't do it, then we need to.  How?  Hit them where it hurts--their wallets!

Stop buying plastic crap for your kids.  (And if you just have to, buy it used.  That's right, used.)  I know, natural toys cost an arm and a leg.  But here's something I'm coming to find out...buying your child one or two expensive but well-made toys is more rewarding than buying her a bunch of plastic junk.  Here's why...

1.  It doesn't break a week later.  I have six children, and they can be hard on toys.  Doll beds and carriages--aren't they made to hold five-year-olds?  No?  My children don't seem to get that.  I've given up buying plastic doll strollers that break.  I'm saving up for a really good one.

2.  Children seem to appreciate the quality.  Really, they do.  I think they can sense when a toy is made well and looks good.  I bought Penelope Peapod dolls, and worried that they'd tear up the basket cradles.  Nope, still going strong.  They're reasonably careful with them, and treat them as they deserve (sort of).  Of course, I also made sure to tell my girls that they are expensive toys, and that they're special and  need to be taken care of if they want more of them. ;-)

3.  With fewer toys, children appreciate them more.  One Christmas we gave our children quite a few toys.  Then relatives gave them more.  It was a present-opening fiasco.  They just wanted to play with one or two items, but we had to make them keep opening, and they just got crankier and crankier from over-stimulation.  Most of the toys were forgotten right away, in favor of the one or two favorites.  What a waste of money.  Fast-forward to another Christmas: one quality toy given to each, plus two toys from relatives, for a total of three toys per child.  Best Christmas ever. Calm, peaceful, and the children loved their toys.

4.  Less worry over toxins.  If you choose your toys carefully, they are safer for your children, and you can feel good about them playing with them.  With the plastic toys we still have, I am forever telling them "get that out of your mouth!"  I need to ditch them.  (By the way, does anyone know if the Schleich animals are safe?)

5.  Less clutter from cheap, broken, unused toys.  We have tons of toys in boxes, half of which are broken, missing pieces, or rarely used. With Christmas and six birthdays every year, it's an exponentially increasing clutterific nightmare!  Now we're paring back, giving only a few, good-quality toys for presents, and slowly crawling out of the clutter.

I hope this gives you some food for thought, as Christmas approaches.  You can avoid the traditional binge of consumerism, while still giving gifts to your family, by choosing fewer, high-quality, natural toys.   

Send a message to greedy conglomerates that we will NOT stand for them poisoning our children to make a fast buck!

"Voting" with our dollars by buying safe toys is the most important way to make sure that in the future, more safe toys are available.

Future posts will tackle toys and toy companies that put your child's safety first. My goal is to post reviews of good, natural toys, but that will have to wait until my budget permits me to buy more toys.  I only have a few good toys so far, and I may be able to review those...if I can find the clothes that have been torn off the dolls.  ;-)

 Below are a few fun toys that are healthy alternatives for your child.  As a former teacher, I can heartily recommend natural wood blocks, but I recommend that you consider getting two or three sets, particularly if you have multiple children.  The more blocks, the higher you can build!  But you can get by with just 100 blocks (and that's a good price for that many.) 

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