Making healthy babies and keeping them healthy, happy … and safe.

Tips and Resources: Non-toxic toys

Posted by NonToxic House on June 6, 2008

The thought of inspecting every toy for toxicity can be overwhelming for some, while others revel in the empowering feeling of cleaning out the toy bin (guess which camp I fall in?). I think I can satisfy both groups with some general guidelines to help you choose non-toxic toys and some detailed tips and resources to help you examine your existing batch and new ones you bring into your home.


  • Avoid PVC plastics, also known as vinyl, which can be found in teethers, soft-squeeze toys, bath toys, vinyl lunch boxes, dolls, etc. This plastic contains phthalates, which disrupt hormones and proper development. Some manufacturers mark their products with the #3 recycling code (below). Though, you might have to dig a little deeper to find the makeup of non-marked items. When possible, choose plastic-free toys.
  • Buy solid wood toys, not particle board or plywood, which can off-gas formaldehyde
  • Look for non-toxic paints and finishes or, in the case of wood toys, unfinished toys
  • Choose organic cotton or wool for plush toys, dolls, etc


If you’re hankering for a hard-core toy inspection, here’s a quick list of resources, tips and checklists for sniffing out non-toxic toys:

  • Compare your existing stash with’s database of more than 1200 toys, with test results that reveal what, if any, harmful chemicals are in them.
  • Check that you don’t own a toy that has been recalled. A great all-in-one site is For more specific queries, try the CDC’s list of toys recalled because of lead (takes 10 or so seconds to load).
  • You can also test for the presence of lead in your toys, with reasonably accurate results. Try the lead testing kits recommended by Consumer Reports.
  • If you’re shopping for new toys, check out’s list of best toys and review these 12 great shopping tips from the Consumer Reports Safety blog.
  • Stash the Green Guide’s Smart Shoppers Toy Card in your wallet as a ready reminder on what’s safe and what’s not when you’re standing in front of the shelf.
  •, an online retailer, has compiled statements from toy manufacturers it works with that details the toy makers’ safety/materials policies.

Are there other you rely on that I’ve overlooked?

[Photo: jenn! (knits a lot) via Flickr]


One Response to “Tips and Resources: Non-toxic toys”

  1. […] safeBABY added an interesting post today on Tips and Resources: Non-toxic toysHere’s a small readingIf you’re shopping for new toys, check out’s list of best toys and review these 12 great shopping tips from the Consumer Reports Safety blog. Stash the Green Guide’s Smat Shoppers Toy Card in your wallet as a ready … […]

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