Less-Toxic Children's & Baby's Products
safer choices for toys, baby supplies, and other kids items to avoid toxic chemicals
Avoid toys that list vinyl or PVC as ingredients. Soft plastic toys like bath toys, squeeze toys, and dolls are commonly made of vinyl.
When possible, choose plastic-free toys such as fabric teethers, wooden toys (unpainted), and cloth and plush toys.
Check for toys that have been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to lead or other hazards. If you have painted toys made before 1978, test the paint for lead and replace if necessary.
To explore a searchable database of over 1,000 toys that were tested for several toxic chemicals, visit HealthyToys.org, the Consumer Action Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys.
Baby bottles and sippers
Avoid products made of polycarbonate plastic, which can leach bisphenol-A, a chemical that mimics estrogen.
Choose bottles made of tempered glass, polypropylene plastic, or polyethylene plastic, such as Evenflo glass or pastel bottles, Gerber opaque bottles, or Medela bottles.
Choose sippy cups made of polypropylene or polyethylene, such as Avent Magic Cup, First Years Take & Toss, Gerber Color Change, and Playtex Sipster.
For more information on choosing safer plastics, see:
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy: Smart Plastics Guide
Nipples, pacifiers, and teethers
Choose silicone nipples instead of rubber, which can leach carcinogenic nitrosamines (silicone is clear, rubber is yellow).
Choose pacifiers and teethers made without PVC; silicone pacifiers are available, and many companies have stopped using PVC for teethers.
Furniture and mattresses
Choose alternatives to products that contain toxic flame retardants (PBDEs), which are often used in furniture upholstery and foam.
Avoid products that contain PVC, such as inflatable furniture, artificial leather, PVC-coated fabrics, and vinyl furniture covers.
If you own painted furniture made before 1978, test the paint for lead and coat or replace if necessary.
Check for products that have been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to lead or other hazards.
More on Choosing Safer Furniture
Avoid products made of, or coated with, PVC, which can include various items such as bibs, hats, bags, raingear, and shoes. Some shoemakers including Nike, Adidas, Asics, and Puma have pledged to phase out PVC in their products.
If possible, choose alternatives to clothing that has been treated for water or stain resistance, such as outerwear and sportswear. Other products that may be treated include shoes, luggage, and camping and sporting equipment.
Avoid jewelry with plastic cords, dull metallic components, or white fake pearls, which can contain lead. Be especially wary of vending machine jewelry, and avoid imported Mexican necklaces with glass pedants containing liquid mercury.
Check for jewelry that has been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to lead or other hazards.
Art and craft supplies
Avoid modeling clays made of PVC. Look for clays made without PVC, or make your own (recipes are available).
Check for items such as crayons, chalk, and craft pieces that have been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to high levels of lead.
For more information on how to choose safer art and hobby supplies, see the Washington Toxics Coalition fact sheet Art and Hobby Supplies.
Resources for more information
Washington Toxics Coalition: Safe Start for Kids!
Washington Toxics Coalition and The Ecology Center: HealthyToys.org: The Consumer Action Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys
Consumer Product Safety Commission: Recalls and Product Safety News
Kids in Danger: Playing with Poison: Lead Poisoning Hazards of Children's Product Recalls 1990-2004
Center for Environmental Health: Lead in Children’s Jewelry
Washington State Department of Health: Health Concerns About Mercury in Necklaces