The holidays are here! They probably snuck up on you in a hurry and it’s a good bet that you still don’t have a gift for every person on your list. If you just can’t seem to find that perfect holiday gift for your child, maybe you should try thinking outside of the box with some clever and useful green holiday gifts for kids. A lot of the “standard” toys contain toxins and chemicals that may in be harmful to your child without you knowing it.
In 2009, Healthystuff.org tested nearly 700 toys and children’s products. One-third (32%) of the toys tested contained one or more of the hazardous chemicals (lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and bromine). While most lead and phthalates are being phased out of toys beginning in 2009, older toys may still contain them.
Avoid toys made of PVC plastic which could contain toxic phthalates posing developmental hazards; choose unpainted wooden or cloth toys instead. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), PIRG and children’s health groups have found high levels of lead paint on toys, as well as high levels of lead in vinyl lunchboxes and bibs, and in children’s costume jewelry.
Read the labels of play cosmetics and avoid products with xylene, toluene, or dibutyl phthalate.
Children exposed to lead can suffer lower IQ, developmental delays or even death. All lead should be removed from a child’s environment, especially lead jewelry and other toys that can be swallowed. To test jewelry for lead, use a home lead tester available at the hardware store, or simply throw costume jewelry made with such heavy metals away. Keep such jewelry away from children who put things in their mouths.
The Environmental Working Group has got 5 great ways to detox your holiday shopping:
- No cheap jewelry-Some baubles contain the toxic metals lead or cadmium.
- Choose arts and crafts carefully-Many contain toxic chemicals.
- Get creative-Give activities, not things. Encourage outside play.
- Simply your non-toxic shopping-Ignore fads and buy items you know aren’t toxic.
- Shift your traditions to raise a greener generation-Agree to a dollar limit, or shop at resale shops.