If you already have a young baby, chances are you have an array of toys, comforters and other apparel that have been lovingly handed down or bought for your little one. And, what’s the first thing that happens when you give your little cherub a shiny, new toy? Yep, straight in the mouth it goes! Whether learning about their environment or trying to ease the pain of teething, a young child’s instinct is to use their mouth. It’s a completely normal and natural part of a child’s development.
BUT, many commercial toys and other baby-related products are far from natural, containing substances that are harmful both to us and to the environment. Plastics used in a large proportion of baby toys can contain BPA and leech toxic chemicals. So, if you’re looking for a safer alternative, here are a few organic and eco-friendly options:
Wooden toys do not contain plastics or other chemical-containing products so are a great choice for your baby. Traditionally handcrafted, these types of toys are made from natural resources so you don’t have to worry about your baby putting them in their mouth. And, there’s no risk of them swallowing a button battery and potentially causing serious internal damage.
Another excellent feature of wooden toys is that they don’t need batteries or electricity so are much kinder to the planet. If you want to buy wooden toys, make sure they are made with non-toxic paints and finishes such as natural oil or beeswax.
There are some gorgeous wooden toys available, including rattles, blocks, trains. The list goes on. You can even buy wooden teethers that are specially designed to place gentle pressure on your little one’s sore gums.
Certified Organic Cotton
You may already know about the issues with traditional cotton farming and how important it is to use ethically grown and sourced cotton. But, you may not be aware of the products available using this material. First though – what does “certified organic” mean? For Australian companies, they must demonstrate they meet certain standards set by Australian Certified Organic. These strict standards include the prohibition of synthetic textile oils, synthetic waxes or silicone-based surfactants1. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the leading certification body to ensure the organic status of textiles from harvesting of the raw materials through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing all the way to labelling.
A clear positive of using certified organic cotton is zero chemical additives, therefore being gentler on your baby’s sensitive skin. The use of plant-derived dyes is not only kinder to baby but also to the environment, so it’s a win-win.
Certified organic cotton is most widely used in clothing and blankets but you can also purchase a great selection of comforters, teddies and rattles. Soft and safe, you’ll be happy to let your baby play all day and snuggle all night with no exposure to potentially harmful pesticides and chemical residues.
As the name suggests, natural rubber is derived from the rubber (Hevea) tree and is mainly sourced from Asia2. The tree is firstly tapped for sap, or milk. Acid such as vinegar is then added to the milk to form rubber that can be used in toys. Requiring very little processing, natural rubber is an environmentally and socially sustainable choice and again, there are no nasty consequences for all that chewing and sucking your baby will do.
As well as being non-toxic, rubber is naturally soft and biodegradable. It is also easy to clean – a simple water and vinegar or lemon solution is all you need. In fact, chemical cleaners or boiling can damage natural rubber so it’s better to stay all natural.
Toys and other products made from natural rubber include:
- Bath toys e.g. real rubber ducks
You don’t have to put up with plastic. Next time you’re invited to a baby shower or someone asks you what to buy for your little one’s birthday, think about Earth-friendly options and do something good for our children and our planet.