Ever head to the dollar store and think you’ve hit the jackpot?  A whole bag of plastic toys for only 20 bucks!  Woo hoo!  But, sadly, these toys may just not be safe.  Many items that have been banned in the US and Europe are allowed to be sold in Canada.  Huh?  That’s pretty strange.  What should you do?  Who can you trust?

–  Try to use as many wooden toys as possible.
– Use a library – not only do you cut down on the waste of books, but you save so much time trying to figure out storage and disposal when the kids are older.
– Bath and water toys are a concern, so get creative in the tub.  Use old pthalate-free baby bottles to pour, metal muffin tins and natural items.  (Maybe on your day at the beach you can grab some seaweed and shells as part of your treasure hunt!)
– You should be squeezing the stagnant water out of plastic squeeze toys each time you use them, which can be time consuming.  Swap them for something else and you could also save a few minutes.
– check the Health Canada website, and keep an eye on & bookmark the UrbanMommies recalls page.  We try to tell you when popular items raise concerns.

Scary.  “A 2007 Health Canada survey of plastic vinyl toys in Canada found 76 per cent contained a level of phthalates not permissible in the U.S. or European Union. Sixty per cent of the toys contained Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)”. (CBC News)

Phthalates can be harmful to children.  Some studies have linked them to the development of type 2 diabetes, issues with genital development in males, and cancer.  Even though this is still disputed and the levels said to be contained in most bath and plastic items are reported to be low, why risk it if there are other options?  In Canada, levels of chemicals do not have to be reported on packaging, and most consumers are far too busy being great parents to research every toy and baby item before they purchase.  Why not use the $20 you save at the dollar store on a fluffy new beach towel, and go hunt for some soft driftwood.