non-toxic toys

Are Your Child’s Favorite Toys Full Of Hidden Dangers?

Are your child’s favorite toys hiding dangerous chemicals? Jenny, a dedicated Eczema Kids Podcast listener and Eczema Kids Skincare user, reached out with a really important question about safe toys and art supplies for her daughter.

She wrote, “What are your thoughts on safe toys for our little ones? When my 3-year-old daughter started suffering from eczema, my husband and I had to rethink everything that could be harming her. We discovered that, unfortunately, many toys are not safe and expose our children to harmful chemicals. Could you do a podcast on this important topic? Your work and the valuable information you share with us moms is so helpful.”

Thank you, Jenny! I really appreciate you reaching out with this podcast topic because you’re right—it’s an important one. Have you ever considered the hidden dangers in your kids’ favorite stuffed animals, dolls, and playsets?

This article uncovers the toxins that might be putting your little one’s health at risk. You all are such vigilant parents, and it’s crucial to ensure that our kids’ toys are safe, especially the ones they sleep with.

Listen Below For The Entire Episode on The Eczema Kids Podcast

The Hidden Dangers in The Everyday Items Our Kids Use

Jenny wrote in about this because it’s a really big deal and a significant source of toxins for our little ones, especially the super little ones who put everything in their mouths. As the diligent, aware parents that we are, we have to be mindful of the materials these toys are made of.

Baby Walker Incident

I remember when my third daughter, my most sensitive one, was about 12 months old. She wasn’t walking yet because she had such severe eczema on her legs that she didn’t want to move them for a while. Once we got her skin cleared up, she was fine and had no more gross motor delays—she’s four now and doing great. But back then, we put her in a baby walker, and it had those plastic trays. She would rest her forearms on that plastic tray, and it would cause her arms to flare up.

This experience really opened my eyes to the hidden dangers in the everyday items our kids use. It’s crucial to be aware of the materials and chemicals in our children’s toys to keep them safe and healthy.

The first time it happened, I couldn’t believe it. I thought, “No way is that the cause.” So, I tried it again, and sure enough, that’s exactly what was happening. Again I thought to myself, “How toxic are these materials? What’s going on here?”

These personal experiences really opened my eyes to the dangers of the everyday items we bring into our homes to help our kids and make their lives more comfortable. It’s shocking to realize that these things could actually be hurting them… significantly so.
-Andra McHugh

My Eyes Have Been Opened and I’m Shocked

The same thing happened when my eldest was potty training, and she’s never even had a skin condition.

Her bottom would get all torn up when we used those little plastic potties. We put one in the living room and used the special seats so they don’t fall through the toilet, and those just tore up her skin. Her bottom was so red and raw. It was because of the plastics and the materials. I ended up getting a wooden potty chair.

These experiences really opened my eyes to the dangers of the everyday items we bring into our homes to help our kids and make their lives more comfortable. It’s shocking to realize that these things could actually be hurting them significantly.

These Ingredients Should Never Be In Your Child’s Toys (But They Are)

When it comes to keeping our kids safe, there are certain toxins that should never be in their toys or everyday items. Here are the key things to look out for:

1. BPAs (Bisphenol A):

  • Highly hazardous to kids and fetuses.

2. Phthalates:

  • Hormone disruptors and potential cancer stimulants.

3. Cadmium:

  • Highly toxic and used in alloys and coatings.

4. Lead:

  • Extremely poisonous and known to cause growth and learning issues.

5. Flame Retardants:

  • Found in mattresses, kids’ pajamas, and many other items. Filled with endocrine disruptors.

These toxins can enter your child’s body in various ways:

  • Through the Skin: The skin absorbs substances, both good and bad. This is why the skincare products you choose are so important.
  • Inhalation: Toxic particles can be inhaled.
  • Ingestion: Hazardous substances can be ingested.

All these exposures add up to long-term health impacts, unfortunately. The main thing to watch out for is plastic, which is what so many toys are made of. It’s frustrating, but PVC and BPAs are particularly problematic.

Don’t Let Your Child’s Bath Be A Chemical Stew

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is a soft, flexible plastic commonly found in bath toys, dolls, inflatables, and squeezy toys. These materials can expose our kids to harmful chemicals during bath time… and playtime.

Is Your Child Inhaling Polyurethane All Night Long?

Polyurethane stuffing, commonly found inside stuffed animals, can significantly contribute to the absorption of toxins into your kids’ systems, especially if they constantly cuddle with their stuffed toys. By being vigilant about these materials, we can help protect our kids from these hidden dangers and ensure their health and safety.

Here Are The Materials You Do Want In Your Child’s Everyday Items

You could look into recalls, but who has time for that? Now you know: anything that isn’t made from natural materials like cotton, wool, or uncoated wood isn’t in your kid’s best interests, especially if you’re actively working on healing. Old wooden toys can also be problematic because of the risk of lead in the chipped paint. Treated wood is another thing to watch out for since most things have a coating on them, even if it says water-based, which isn’t ideal.

So, aim for untreated wood and other plastic-free options like cardboard, fabric, and wool figurines. We want to avoid polyurethane foam and instead look for down, wool, cotton, or even safer polyester fillings. But if you’re looking into it, you might as well go with down, wool, or cotton stuffing for any stuffed animals.

Non-Toxic Art and Craft Supplies

Jenny also followed up asking about safe craft and art supplies, which are another big source of endocrine-disrupting and skin-irritating toxins.

My kids love to craft, and I love to encourage it because creativity is so important.

Non-Toxic Craft Materials

Adhesives: Glue sticks, Elmer’s school glue, and adhesive tape.

Drawing Materials: Stick to water-based and unscented options. Crayons and colored pencils are great, but remember, scent usually means phthalates. Those popular scented markers are particularly problematic.

Paints: Water-based kids paints.

Modeling Clays: Play Doh is okay. Earth based, Clays, like Crayola air dry clay, that’s okay, oil based clays, those are okay. All of these are “okay” as long as you’re not eating them.

Glazes: Make sure anything you use has an AP logo on it to ensure it’s been tested for lead.

Extra Craft Materials: Metal-free pieces like popsicle sticks and cotton balls, fabric pieces, yarn, wooden beads.

Smocks: Cotton aprons or smocks are the washable, non-toxic way to go!

Materials to Hard Pass On

Work to avoid the following substances and keep them out of your home:

Adhesives: Rubber cement, model glue, spray adhesives, contact cement, super glue, and epoxy.

Drawing Materials: Scented markers, permanent markers, dry-erase markers (we do use these in our homeschool but we always use erasers instead of our fingers!)

Paints: Oil-based paints, paint thinners, spray paints, artist paints, acrylic paints, powdered paints, those not so wonderful.

Modeling Clays: Avoid polymer clays. That’s vinyl PVC clays. No thank you!

Glazes: Anything without the AP logo. Those are not guaranteed lead-free.

Extra Craft Materials: Metal pieces like costume jewelry and charms could contain lead. Not ideal.

Smocks: Vinyl and PVC-coated materials. Not good. They’re just inhaling all that stuff.

How To Ensure Your Purchases are Toxin-Free

If you’re currently going through your belongings, checking tags, or considering replacements, moving forward, look for the Oeko-Tex certification. This certification is crucial, especially in clothing. Brands like Hanna Andersson are great because much of their clothing is Oeko-Tex certified. Another important label to watch for is GOTS, which stands for Global Organic Textile Standard, ensuring materials are organic.

Oeko-Tex 100 certifies that textiles are free from harmful substances, while Oeko-Tex 1000 includes environmentally and socially friendly practices. The gold standard here would be Oeko-Tex Standard 1000. This certification is particularly vital for anything in contact with your child while they sleep, like bedding and stuffed animals. It’s a reminder that I’ve also been a bit lax on this front, and there are items in my girls’ room that need replacing. It’s a good opportunity to declutter their overstuffed toy collection too.

For both soft and hard toys, prioritize organic materials like untreated wood, wool, and cotton. In today’s age, it’s important to know the terminology to research and ensure future purchases meet these standards for safety and sustainability.

Are You Rummaging Through Your Child’s Toybox?

As we know, we can make a significant impact by voting with our dollars. By investing in the organic material toys market, we can drive demand and prompt industry changes. This is how we make a difference.

I don’t want this to be just another item on your to-do list. Start with the essentials like bedtime items and then move on to other things, such as toddler potties if you’re at that stage. I know you’re all committed to doing everything possible for your kiddos, and I am too. This is how we do it—by being vigilant and proactive. That’s who we are, and it’s fantastic. How lucky are our kids?

Here’s some companies I recommend:

I’d love for you to share your experiences or ask any questions in our free Facebook group, Eczema Solutions for Kids: Natural Healing and Comfort.

If you’re looking for more you can do to clean up your indoor living environment, check out: Safe and Non-Toxic Home Materials for Kids, Eczema Itch Relief at Home and Eczema Triggers and Irritants.

non-toxic toys
non-toxic toys
non-toxic toys


Why should I be concerned about the materials in my child’s toys?

Many toys contain harmful chemicals that can be particularly detrimental to kids with eczema. These toxins can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or ingested, potentially leading to long-term health impacts. It might seem overwhelming, but don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. Our Natural Eczema Solutions Course provides comprehensive guidance on how to mitigate harmful chemicals in your home.

What are some safe materials for toys?

Got you covered. If you have questions, pop into our free Facebook group, Eczema Solutions for Kids

Natural Materials: Cotton, wool, and uncoated wood.

Plastic-Free Options: Cardboard, untreated wood, fabric, and wool figurines.

Safe Fillings: Down, wool, cotton, and safer polyester fillings.

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