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Wooden or plastic baby toys?

Safer for the child or better for the environment? The arguments for and against wooden and plastic baby toys.

When it comes to buying baby toys, it is not just the entertainment or learning value that¨s important. The safety of the child is paramount. After scares regarding badly made toys, such as those made in China which contain lead, parents are becoming more careful as to what they buy to amuse and develop their child.

When it comes to safety, both wooden and plastic playthings bring issues with them. All toys sold in the UK have to meet certain safety standards and also carry information about what age range they are suitable for.

However, there may still be risks brought about through wear and tear and cleanliness. While a baby is still breast- or bottle-feeding you should sterilise anything they play with, just as for their bottles and dummies. It is certainly easier to clean a plastic toy in this way.

Once a child has moved on to using a beaker and is being spoon-fed, normal cleaning products are appropriate for their toys. Do pay special attention to any joins and edges though C and this includes grains in the wood if what you are cleaning is wooden.

Wear and tear can occur with both plastic and wooden products. When you clean a wooden toy you need to check it for splinters, while plastic ones can split and crack. And for both types, if it is damaged, throw it away!

It shouldn¨t come as a surprise that parents become focused on environmental issues either. Many are now seeing the world as the place their newborn baby will inherit, and they don¨t want to see their child¨s future as one full of suffering because of the lack of care they had taken with the world¨s natural resources.

If wooden toys are made from sustainable wood sources, then they are not detrimental to the environment. It can, however, be difficult to find out whether or not they have been made from wood grown in a managed forest or woodland.

Plastic is made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource. Some plastics, however, can be recycled. As thermoplastics can be reshaped if heat is applied, they offer recycling potential. But recycling in this way is only good for the environment if the heat required is not excessive.

For example, it makes environmental and financial sense to recycle plastic milk bottles C and many areas in the UK now have recycling bins for waste of this type. Finding out whether a plastic toy is suitable for recycling is much more difficult and domestic recycling bins only allow specific forms of plastic.

Biodegradable plastics are better for the environment, but it would not be safe for toys to be made out of such material C it is only suitable for short-term use items such as food packaging and plastic bags.

The most effective way to recycle baby toys is to donate them to a charity or toy library. If you give unwanted and outgrown playthings to charity, not only do you support the charity in question but also other babies will get use out of them and so will not need to be bought brand new ones.

Toy libraries allow families to loan out their toys (usually for free) so that children can play with a wide variety without their parents having to buy all of them. These libraries often have play sessions which are open to children of different age groups, including children under 18 months old.

Both wooden and plastic baby toys can be safe for the child and not detrimental to the environment C but you need to do your homework first.



Sources: http://www.expressandstar.com/lifestyle/2010/07/16/wooden-or-plastic-baby-toys/

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