Where Can I Find Safe Toys?

Product safety recalls are announced everyday. It's scary to realize that some of the objects we take for granted as being safe: toys, clothing, tools, dishes, furniture, vehicles, makeup and personal grooming products are dangerous. It's particularly troubling when we don't find out that they're unsafe until weeks or even months after we've bought them. As we watch our toddler playing with a brightly colored educational toy, do we know if the paint contains lead or if one of the little parts will detach and choke our beloved child, maybe when we've gone into another room for a moment?

If a toy is made in another country and not certified by a reputable agency, there's no assurance that the paint was non-toxic and no guarantee that it would pass United States safety standards. Of course, this applies to all kinds of products from baby strollers to treadmills. True, the US government tests a certain number of imports, but it's only a tiny fraction of the millions of items that enter the US everyday and get put on store shelves.

What to do? Do we stop giving our kids toys to play with? Do we tell them that their crayons are full of lead, their little vehicles come apart and can choke them to death, and that doll stroller can take the tip of their finger off, so they'll have to make do with cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls and their imaginations? Will Susie have to make baby dolls out of rolled up towels and fashion dolls out of clothespins?

I'm pleased to say that there are safe alternatives to uncertified imported toys. I've already assembled a list of companies who sell USA made products and/or safe products from other sources such as Germany and the European Union where safety standards are higher than they are anywhere in the world. I've listed them on the sidebars and will be introducing more as I find them. It's not easy, but they're out there. They may not spend as much on advertising, mostly because many of them are small businesses with smaller budgets than the big-box stores.

Their products sometimes cost a little more than those cheap plastic dollar store items, but they last a lot longer and aren't made with toxins or lead paint. Instead they're made with integrity, pride and old-fashioned workmanship. They're made to last and you'll probably find yourself handing them down to other children as your child outgrows them. Maybe you'll even give them to a grandchild in future years, knowing that she'll be able to play safely with her mom's favorite doll or her dad's wooden rocking horse.

The toys I've found are sturdy, practical, made to last and safe to use. They won't break the first time your child uses them and many of them are toys that you just can't find anywhere else. Check back often to see what's been added to the list and for the latest recalls, which are updated daily. Or better yet:
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