When buying a gift for a child of a friend, family member or a colleague, there are several important factors to take into mind. You may worry about things like cost and suitability of the toy. There’s something else to worry about: toxicity.

Unfortunately, many children’s toys contain toxic material that is known to harm developing bodies. While most harmful substances are outright banned for sale in toys in Australia, certain materials can seep through. Here’s a brief guide for buying children’s gifts that will not chemically harm them:

Avoid Plastics

We use plastics every day, so it’s a harmless material, right? Not exactly. Some plastics can leak chemicals that can harm bodies. While these plastics are not harmful to touch, they can become harmful because of heating or ingesting. Kids love to chew on things, especially their toys. So they can inadvertently ingest something harmful in a harmless disguise.

The plastic you need to avoid in any kiddie thing is polycarbonate plastic. It’s the plastic that leak BPA, a chemical that can disrupt hormones. This hard plastic has been eliminated from items that touch kids’ mouths, like sippy cups. But it can still be found on certain toys. Therefore, don’t buy anything for kids with this type of plastic in it.

Don’t Buy Anything in PVC

Polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC, is a commonly used material in building items like pipes. But it shouldn’t be anywhere near things that kids touch or bite down on. PVC can contain phthalates, a chemical related to developmental disorders in young children. PVC may also contain other harmful metals like mercury or even arsenic, used during the manufacturing process. So it’s really just better to say no to this material.

Buy Gifts Made from Natural Material

Considering the harm plastics and related material can bring to kids, choose natural materials like wood, natural rubber, and natural fabrics for children’s gift items. For example, wooden baby toys with after pay is a great nontoxic choice for gifting. Make sure the material in the product is certified natural to be sure of the quality. Some natural materials, like rubber, have synthetic variants. So you need to be careful when reading the labels.

Mind the Dyes

Do you pay attention to the vivid colours in kids’ things and wonder where they come from? The colour could come from a harmful dye. You should not buy kids’ items not coloured with edible and natural dyes. Remember, kids chew on everything. So even if the dye is not harmful to the touch, it could be when chewed.

Don’t Buy Cheap Stuff for Kids Online

In general, avoid buying cheap items for kids online from sites like eBay. Items made in China are highly suspicious because the material can be mislabelled. Also, regulatory authorities don’t monitor sellers based overseas, so you could end up with a pretty harmful items that shouldn’t be anywhere near a kid. Buy your gifts from local sellers and preferably choose Australian made products.

You obviously want to buy a gift for a friend’s kid to impress. But make sure the lovely item is not toxic to the child by carefully following the above tips.

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