How to Choose Safe Teething Toys
Babies love to explore the world around them. Everything is new and exciting. Much to mom’s dismay, they do much of this exploring of their new world with their little mouths. It’s a good idea then to choose safe teethers for curious tots to touch, chew and gnaw on as they please.
As babies begin to teeth, they will also develop a natural inclination to soothe their gums by endlessly chewing and gumming any objects they can get their hands on. Those sharp little teeth are making their way through the gum line, making for a very sore and cranky little baby.
Teething can be one of the most challenging aspects of raising a baby. It can disrupt sleep, and lest we forget the constant drooling.
Having teethers on hand can and will save the day. It doesn’t matter if you’re at home, in a check-out line, or gearing up for a long haul flight, these little miracle workers are an absolute essential for your diaper bag and nursery.
When they’re not providing teething relief for your tot, they can also help little ones hit developmental milestones like reaching, grasping and shaking. They also encourage hand-eye coordination, while providing comfort and fun at the same time.
It’s important to know that not all teething toys are made equal. Unfortunately, some mainstream toys may contain biologically harmful chemicals like:
- PVC/ Vinyl
The last thing you want is your little one to be consuming any of these toxic ingredients. Here is a simple guide outlining what to avoid and what to look for when it comes to shopping for non-toxic teethers and toys for baby.
6 Ingredients To Avoid
Keep in mind that some of these toys may end up in the bathtub, in your diaper bag, or strewn all over the house so they will need to be durable. Toy makers use many different materials to make durable or pliable toys so it’s important to know exactly what they’re using and if the materials can pose any harm to your child. Here are six ingredients to avoid in teething toys:
- PVC / Vinyl: PVC is the number 1 ingredient to avoid when choosing teethers and toys. PVC contains chlorine and possibly lead and other heavy metals. It also contains hormone disrupting phthalates, which are added to make the material soft and pliable like in rubber ducks and bath toys.
- Phthalates: Phthalates are never listed on any packaging. They are disguised as “fragrance” or “parfum” and are added to materials like vinyl. Phthalates are used to bind scents to a product or to make them softer and pliable. They also have, according to many independent studies, estrogenic properties which disrupt hormone balances in the body. You’ll definitely want to ensure all baby products you buy are phthalate-free.
- Bisphenol-a: BPA is found in hard plastics, and has also been shown to mimic estrogen in the body. Most toys these days are labeled as BPA-Free;, however, it’s still best to know what to look for. Plastic with the recycling symbol of a ‘7’ is typically polycarbonate, and can contain BPA.
- Latex: Latex can cause allergies or be contaminated with a carcinogen called ‘nitrosamines’. It’s best to skip this one if you can.
- Varnishes, Paints, Stains: Lead can still be found in paints and varnishes used in toys. Wooden toys are a better option but make sure you choose toys that are polished with 100% beeswax and use water and plant-based pigments.
- Cadmium: Often used as a cheap alternative to lead, cadmium can be found in metal coatings on cheap toys. Cadmium exposure has been linked to low birth weights, learning disabilities, breast and lung cancer and kidney disease.
Alternative Ingredients To Look For:
Babies spend a lot of time chewing and sucking on teething toys. Here are non-toxic baby toy ingredients that can be safely chewed on without worrying about toxic chemicals:
- 100% natural rubber
- Untreated natural hard wood
- 100% organic cotton
- Food-grade silicone
- Food-grade safe plastics
Homemade Teething Rings
Here are two effective, natural remedies that can alleviate your toddler’s teething pains and achy sore gums.
- Washcloth teether: Wet a clean organic cotton washcloth and place it in the freezer for a few minutes. Let your baby chew on it for a bit and the cold will help ease the pain.
- Frozen fruit teether: Cut bananas, cantaloupes or mango into chunks and fit into a BPA-free mesh feeder. They love to chew on these and it makes for a healthy and delicious gum numbing snack.
OUR FAVORITE NON-TOXIC, ALL-NATURAL TEETHING TOYS FOR BABIES & TODDLERS
Here’s a list of non-toxic teethers we love:
- Loulou Lollipop Taco Teether
- LexyPexy Chocolate Cookie Wooden
- Oil and Carol Carrot
- Loulou Lollipop Trinity
- Oli and Carol Banana
- LexyPexy Coconut Water Wooden
- Itzy Ritzy Pinapple
- Oil and Carol Watermelon
Find out more about the materials and style of each of these products below.
Easy for little hands to hold, Oli & Carol’s Arnold the Avocado teether is a chewable fruit-shaped baby toy for sensory play, teething and bath time.
Made from 100% food grade silicone, this taco-shaped teether is strategically textured on both sides with raised details to massage top and bottom gums.
Made using food-grade silicone with a birchwood ring conditioned with organic olive oil and beeswax, the Trinity is perfect for little hands to hold and grasp.
Available in more colors
Easy for little hands to hold, the juicy Watermelon is a chewable fruit-shaped baby toy for sensory play, teething and bath time. Completely non-toxic, biodegradable and eco-friendly, little gums love the texture of Hevea rubber.
More on Teething
This stage can be a very uncomfortable time for some babies. See our article on How to manage teething for common symptoms and remedies.