Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Resources for Choosing Safe and Eco-Friendly Toys

Since choosing toys for little ones dreaming of visits from St. Nick is on the minds of so many of us during December, I thought I would continue the theme of providing some resources to help select safe and environmentally friendly options.

The Green Guide's Toy Guide provides information on toy materials (including plastics, wood, electronics and battery operated toys, cotton, hemp and wool); shopping and usage tips; product comparisons (in a handy chart that includes purchasing information and reader reviews); and the "backstory" that explains some of the health and safety concerns associated with toys and exposure to substances sometimes found in them.

Treehugger's 2008 Holiday Gift Guide includes a section for the "WeeHugger" includes information on some great back-to-basics toys, activities and toys to help teach your child about the environment and recycling, and organic t-shirts and lunch bags.

GoodGuide's Holiday Guide to Safe Toys "includes only toys that are free from chemicals of concern such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, bromine, and phthalates. Hopefully, they're also fun for your kids! They've found options for all your gift needs, from safe dolls to safe puzzles, from safe arts and crafts to safe action figures."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Check Before You Finish Your Holiday Shopping

It's the holiday season, and if you're reading this blog, odds are you have a little one on your holiday shopping list. Before buying that bright, shiny new toy you're sure they'll love, you may want to check out includes test results for more than 1,500 toys and children's products. The site developers describe it as "a first step in providing parents, grandparents, and others who care about children with the information they need to make better choices when purchasing toys and other children's products." Toy rankings and information on chemicals of concern are available, as well as information on what you can do to help prevent the inclusion of toxic chemicals in toys. You can search the toys in the HealthyToys database by product, product code, or manufacturer. You can also use the "Test my Toy" feature to suggest toys and products to be tested and added to the database. Note that a link at the top of the home page allows you to view the site in Spanish. is a project of the Ecology Center, a nonprofit environmental organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

You may notice that I've added a little widget available from to the bottom side bar on this blog; it allows you to type in a toy or brand name to check products for lead content. Play around with it and use it to do quick checks on toys you already own, or are considering for your kids.