Kids’ Toys: Safe and Fun or Damaging and Deadly?

Keep your kids safe by understanding the risks that come from toys made from different materials. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)
Keep your kids safe by understanding the risks that come from toys made from different materials. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

One of the main concerns for parents when buying toys for children is safety. In the U.S., regulations mandate that toy makers follow strict procedures to ensure that products do not end up harming kids. If you are a parent, it is important that you understand how toys made from different materials pose a threat to your little ones.

Plastic toys

Most plastic toys are made from PVC. When they come into contact with a baby’s mouth, toxins can leach out. Additives to PVC — like cadmium, BPA, lead, or phthalates — can be threatening to a child’s life. “[BPA] is found in plastic toys, sippy cups, plastic bottles, and canned food lining. It’s considered more of a danger when the child chews on it, so the main concern with BPA has been on food and drink products. But if your child is prone to chewing on toys… it’s best to avoid plastic toys for that stage,” according to Green Child Magazine.

(Image via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Most plastic toys are made from PVC. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Cadmium is a carcinogen that can negatively affect brain growth in infants. It can also cause damage to the kidneys. Phthalates give plastic toys a squishy feel. The biggest danger of these chemicals is that they affect the endocrine system and are known to blunt the influence of testosterone, thereby resulting in the “feminization” of boys. Lead is used to make plastic toys durable. However, it also affects the nervous system, lowers IQ, and increases the chances of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Magnet toys

A couple of very popular toys in recent times have been DigiDots and Zen Magnets. They are comprised of tiny magnetic cubes or balls and are sold in sets of around 200 units or more. The toys can be up to 30 times stronger than the usual kitchen magnet. These magnetic balls and cubes can be combined to form various shapes, which is what attracts children. However, if the kid swallows a few of these magnets, there will be serious health risks.

“A tiny magnet in one loop of the bowel will ‘find’ another magnet in a different loop and pull the two together. This traps parts of the digestive system between magnets, cutting off blood flow to the trapped section, and rapidly killing intestinal tissue. This, in turn, can create abnormal holes between intestinal segments, allowing the contents of the intestines to spill freely into the belly. That can lead to serious infections, lifelong digestive disorders, or even death,” (STAT News).

(Image: XRDoDRX via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

If two or more magnets are swallowed they can attract each other inside the bowel and have the potential to cut off blood flow in the intestines as they draw different loops of the bowel together. (Image: XRDoDRX via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

Slime

There has been crazy demand from kids for Slime. Its delightful texture and appearance make it extremely attractive to children. However, it contains boron, a chemical that can result in vomiting, irritation, cramps, and even loss of fertility. A report by consumer group Which? found that 8 of the 11 most popular brands of slime breached EU regulations and contained dangerously high levels of boron.

“There must be fundamental changes to the product safety system. Manufacturers must stop making unsafe products and the government and retailers simply have to do a far better job of getting anything identified as a risk off the shelves and out of people’s homes,” Nikki Stopford, director of research and publishing at Which?, said to Independent.

Parents are advised to avoid buying boron-based slime. Instead, natural slime can be given to the kids. You can easily prepare homemade slime using chia seeds, cornstarch, gelatin, and so on.

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