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Chemicals in children toys, what you should know?

Chemicals in children toys, what you should know?

Toy safety requirements are especially strict in the EU. But there are also things that you might think are made for children to play with that are not, such as glow sticks, bracelets and necklaces. There are also recipes for home-made slime that use ingredients that are not suitable for children.

Toys are safer for children than other objects

Toys that are CE marked are often safer for children to play with than things that are made for adults. This is because toy safety requirements are especially strict in the EU. The CE marking means that the manufacturer must have observed the toy regulations that apply in the EU. Many hazardous chemical substances are banned in toys manufactured in the EU or imported into the EU from other parts of the world. Chemical substances that we know can cause cancer, damage genetic material or affect the ability to have children are prohibited or may only be present in low levels. Examples of substances that are prohibited in toys are especially hazardous plasticisers called phthalates and a number of metals. Many fragrances are also banned, as they are allergenic.

New toys are safer than older toys

Toys bought after 2013 are safer for children to play with than older toys. This is because the rules for toys sold in the EU were sharply tightened in 2013. The new rules prohibit many dangerous chemical substances that were previously permitted.

Toys adapted for the child’s age

For children who like to chew and suck on things, it is safest to only let the child play with things that are approved for children in the age group (0-3 years). The requirements for these toys are extra strict. Avoid allowing children to chew and suck on things that are not intended for that purpose. But even for older children, there are age recommendations that can be good to take into account. For example, model building kits for cars, planes and boats are not intended for young children. Many paints and glues/adhesives found in model building kits can contain solvents. Older children who play with these items should do so in a well-ventilated place, for example next to an open window, when they use the paints and glues/adhesives.

Toys that you can buy online

To ensure safety when you shop for toys, children’s clothing or anything else on the internet, it is best to find out if the articles are manufactured for sale in the EU. In the worst case scenario, non-EU articles may contain substances that could harm health and the environment. You can search for this information, for example, on the company’s website or ask the seller by email or phone. When it comes to toys and electronic products, you can look for the CE marking. Toys and electronic products that are CE marked must be manufactured with regard to the

Items with strong scents

Some strong-smelling toys and erasers may contain allergenic fragrances and phthalates. Therefore, it is a good idea to avoid strongly scented products. Toys that are perfumed can be allergenic, and many such perfumes are banned in the EU. For certain fragrances, there is a requirement that there must be information on the article stating that the fragrance has been added to the toy.

Glow sticks, bracelets and necklaces

Glow sticks, bracelets and necklaces do not have to meet the requirements for toys, as they are not intended to be used as toys. Glow sticks, bracelets and necklaces are made with thin plastic tubes that can easily break. If the plastic tubes break, a luminous liquid can easily leak out. The liquid can be very irritating if it gets into the mouth or eyes. Do not allow children to suck on or chew on this type of luminescent plastic tube.

Homemade slime

Many children want to mix their own slime, and several popular recipes contain glue as an ingredient. Glues may contain allergenic preservatives or other substances that are not allowed in toys. Because playing with slime involves a lot of skin contact, it is inappropriate to use glue as an ingredient.

There are also recipes for slime that contain boric acid or borax, which is highly inappropriate for children to come in contact with. These substances can, among other things, affect a person’s ability to bear children. Contact lens solution may contain small amounts of boric acid, but it is in such a low concentration that there is no danger in using it.

There are several recipes for slime where you only use ingredients that are used in cooking, such as water, flour, cooking oil and caramel colour. Choose this type of recipe if your children want to make their own slime.

Crayons, pencils, paints, glue

Most paints and adhesives intended for children are water-based and do not contain harmful solvents. The types of oil paints used by adults, should not be used by children. Acrylic paints can be an option for slightly older children who want to paint “for real”.

Articles that blink and make sounds

Many toys contain batteries that allow them to blink, honk, or play tunes. If the toy meets the regulations that apply in the EU, it must not be possible for a small child to open the battery cover. But considering how great the risks are to a small child’s health if he or she does get to a battery, it can be good to keep an extra close eye on small children when playing with such toys. When you are ready to get rid of a toy that contains batteries, you can return the toy to the store that sold it. The seller is obliged to take back and dispose of articles with built-in batteries. You can also bring the article to a recycling centre. Things that are not sold as toys but that have batteries in them can have battery covers that can be relatively easy for children to open. For example, there are greeting cards with button cell batteries. If children swallow a battery, you must seek medical attention.

Liquid-filled articles

Liquid-filled ornaments with different-coloured liquids may contain mineral oil. This is also a type of product that is not manufactured for use by children. The mineral oil is very dangerous if these objects break and children ingest the contents.

Modelling/play compound

Modelling/play compound and slime that are CE marked must meet the safety requirements set for toys sold within the EU and must be safe to use. Always choose products that are adapted to your child’s age and maturity.

 

Source: https://www.kemi.se/en/chemicals-in-our-everyday-lives/chemicals-in-the-everyday-lives-of-children/toys

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Let's talk chemical in plastic toys and the new alternatives with green plastic & silicone!

Let's talk chemical in plastic toys and the new alternatives with green plastic & silicone!

 What are the most dangerous chemical in plastic toys?

Phthalates are among the most concerning plastic chemicals found in toys. These chemicals are commonly used as plasticizers in PVC to make the plastic more flexible. Some phthalates have been associated with potential health risks, particularly in children's products, as they can leach out of plastic over time.

Notably, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) are restricted in the European Union in toys and childcare articles due to their potential adverse effects on reproductive health.

It's important to check for regulatory compliance and choose toys that meet safety standards to minimize exposure to harmful substances.

What are the risk of dangerous chemical in old toys? 

Whether or not to reuse old plastic toys depends on several factors:

 Age and Condition: Older toys, especially those made before stricter regulations were enforced (e.g., before 2008 in the U.S.), might contain higher levels of potentially harmful chemicals like phthalates or lead. If the toys are visibly damaged or deteriorating, it’s best to avoid using them, as this can increase the risk of exposure to these substances.

Material: Some plastics degrade over time, potentially releasing harmful additives. Be cautious with old toys made of soft plastic, as they are more likely to contain phthalates.

Safety Standards: Toys made many years ago might not conform to current safety standards. This is particularly important for toys intended for young children, who are more vulnerable to the effects of toxic substances and more likely to put toys in their mouths.

Cleanliness: Old toys might harbor bacteria or mold, especially if they have been stored in damp or unclean conditions. Thorough cleaning is essential before reuse.

Emotional or Historical Value: Sometimes, old toys have sentimental value or collectible appeal. In such cases, they might be kept for their emotional significance rather than for play.

In summary, while reusing and recycling toys is generally positive for environmental reasons, ensure that the toys are safe, clean, and conform to current safety standards before giving them to children.

How the chemical leak and become dangerous for children?

Chemicals in toys can pose risks to children's health through various mechanisms:

Mouth Contact: Young children often explore the world by putting objects, including toys, in their mouths. If toys contain harmful chemicals, such as lead or phthalates, there's a direct risk of ingestion.

Skin Absorption: Some chemicals can be absorbed through the skin. If toys have coatings or materials containing toxic substances, prolonged skin contact may lead to absorption.

Inhalation: Toys, especially those with strong odors or made from materials that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), can pose risks through inhalation. Children may breathe in these substances while playing.

Degradation Over Time: With wear and tear, some toys may degrade, releasing chemicals that were initially part of the toy's composition. This can happen with plastics, paints, or other materials.

Dust or Residue: Certain chemicals may be present as dust or residue on the surface of toys. Children can come into contact with these substances through skin contact or by ingesting them.

Chemical Migration: Chemicals can migrate from one part of a toy to another or from the toy to the surrounding environment. For example, plasticizers like phthalates can leach out of plastic materials.

 The dangers vary depending on the specific chemicals involved and the level of exposure. Some chemicals, like lead, can have severe and lasting health effects, particularly on neurological development in young children. Others, such as phthalates, may be associated with reproductive or hormonal concerns.

What do we know about 'Green plastic'?

“Green plastic” can refer to different things, so let’s explore a couple of possibilities:

Biodegradable or Plant-Based Plastics: Some plastics are labeled as “green” because they are derived from renewable resources like plants. These may include bioplastics such as polylactic acid (PLA) made from corn or sugarcane. While they are often marketed as more environmentally friendly, their actual impact depends on factors like disposal conditions and the industrial processes used to create them.

Environmentally Friendly Plastics: The term “green plastic” can also imply an effort to produce plastics with reduced environmental impact. This might involve using recycled materials, designing for recyclability, or incorporating additives to enhance biodegradability.

It’s crucial to note that the term “green” can sometimes be used as a marketing tactic, and not all products labeled as such are necessarily environmentally superior. Understanding the specific properties, sourcing, and end-of-life considerations of a plastic product is essential for a more accurate assessment of its environmental impact.

What do we know about silicone?

Silicone is generally considered safe for children, especially in products like toys, teething rings, and food containers. It has several properties that make it a preferred material in children's products:

Chemical Stability: Silicone is highly stable and does not easily break down or leach chemicals. This makes it less likely to release harmful substances compared to certain plastics.

Heat Resistance: Silicone can withstand high and low temperatures, making it safe for various applications, including products that may be sterilized or heated.

Durability: Silicone is resistant to wear and tear, which is beneficial for items that children frequently use and chew on.

Non-Toxic: High-quality food-grade silicone is generally non-toxic and free from BPA, phthalates, and PVC.

Hypoallergenic: Silicone is typically non-reactive and hypoallergenic, reducing the risk of allergic reactions.

Ease of Cleaning: Silicone can be easily cleaned, which is important for maintaining hygiene in children's products.

 However, it's important to ensure that silicone products are of high quality and specifically labeled as food-grade or medical-grade if they are intended for use in feeding or teething. Always choose products that meet safety standards and are from reputable manufacturers. While silicone is generally safe, like any material, it's crucial to use it as intended and follow any manufacturer's guidelines and safety recommendations.

Hope this help you to understand more about the toys industry. 

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How to create your wishlist and only receive what your child needs?

How to create your wishlist and only receive what your child needs?

Creating the best wishlists for your child's needs involve understanding their interests, considering their ages, developmental stages and prioritizing learning and development. 

1. search for : open ended toys, fine motors skills develovemment, sustainable toys, problem solving toys, creativity such as books, puzzles, blocks and STEM related toys.

2. Consider their interests and write a list to share with friends and familly

3. Choose toys and activities that are age appropriate

4. Ask for gift cards 

 

Hope this will help you.

 

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