Phthalate-free and non-toxic baby toys

Simple guidelines for finding safe, non-toxic baby toys.

Credit: surlygirl

Simple guidelines to help you find safe teethers and soothers

Baby toys are so cute and colourful, who would think that they could be harmful for our little ones?

With so much buzz and info on phthalates and toxins in baby toys, finding baby-safe toys can feel a bit overwhelming. Best not to stress, so I’ve put together a few simple guidelines to help you out.

Phthalates are a group of hazardous chemicals used in the making of plastics and are found in soft plastic toys like rubber duckies. In 1999, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) did restrict the use of phthalates in soft rattles, teethers and soothers. But many other toys may still contain them.

So throw away or recycle any soft plastic toys that were made before 1999 or that you’re not sure are phthalate-free. And from now on, buy ones that state “phthalate-free” or “BPA-free.” Or choose toys that are made of silicone or natural rubber.

baby toys

My son has a little mushroom that he loves to chew on made by Vulli (a French company that also manufactures Sophie the Giraffe, pictured at top), and it is great for teething. Natursutten makes apple- or fish-shaped teething rings that are BPA-free, and RaZ-Berry makes a great silicone teether.

Natural wooden toys and teethers are also a great way to go. Plan and HABA have a wide selection of rattles, rings, blocks and more.

If you are buying a brand that you aren’t familiar with, make sure that they are using non-toxic paint. Lead paint is cheaper than lead-free, and because China does not have very strict regulations for manufacturing baby toys, best to go for toys made in Europe, USA or Canada.

For more tips on finding safe baby toys, along with a whole heck of a lot of great region-specific parenting info, check out the Vancouver-based mommy website

For soft and plush toys, try to buy organic cotton when possible. Synthetic fibres are petroleum based and not great for baby to be sucking on. miYim and Under The Nile make great stuffed animals and blankies. My son’s absolute favourite is his Blabla monkey made of cotton and knit in Peru.

My personal favourite stores in Vancouver for these kinds of green baby toys are Hip Baby on 4th Ave., Dandelion Kids on Commercial Drive and Pebble on Arbutus; even Babies Are Us carries some green baby toys.

We are fortunate to have the knowledge that we do and the access to great green baby toys. Buying these kinds of toys isn’t just good for baby, its also better for the earth.

And if you want to be super green, try to buy used toys from craigslist or share toys within a circle of friends.

READ MORE: The Organic Baby Guide


Nicole Bridger was born and raised in Vancouver. In 2007 she started her own company, a clothing line of sustainable, contemporary women’s wear (website). In January of 2009, she and her husband became parents to their son, Rhame. They live and work in Vancouver.

Facebook: Nicole Bridger Design