When your baby starts teething, they want to get their hands and mouth on literally anything to soothe their sore gums. Baby teething toys or baby rattles as they can be called are colourful and cute but which ones are safe? Just because they are allowed to be sold on our shelves, don't be fooled that they are all safe and healthy.
One thing that research and life is teaching us is that chemical exposure is gradual and cumulative so every choice along the way once your baby arrives and throughout childhood is setting up a pattern of health that will carry them throughout life. So it makes me a little sick when I see a baby sucking on a nylon or plastic toy and I know that if that parent or carer was informed, they would not want their baby sucking on that toy.
I have dedicated the last 20 years of my life to finding the very best natural and organic products for babies and I have narrowed it down to these 4 styles.
If you also want to know about which teethers to avoid and NOT buy, then we list those at the end of this short article as well.
Before we get into the baby toys which is the fun part, lets just quickly clear up why BPA free plastic is not on our list in just one simple paragraph.
In this article by Sharon Hall of My Chemical Free Romance, she explains that Bisphenols are a class of plastic, not one type, and that there are 14 different Bisphenols. BPA stands for Bisphenol A only. So when you see a product that says “BPA-Free” plastic which we have been trained to think of is healthier, all it is really telling you is that that plastic uses another Bisphenol, such as Bisphenol F or S, instead. We encourage you to do your own research on BPA free to make your own decision on this topic. Plastic also still uses petroleum as vital to the production process and can leach chemicals from the container into the product over time.
Here are my top four styles of safe teething toys for babies
Natural Rubber is popular with health conscious parents as a teething toy for babies to easily hold and suck because it mimics the flexibility of plastic but contains no plastic. Parents are now learning that it is no longer an option to source even BPA free plastic for baby toys or teething toys or baby rattles.
Natural rubber is biodegradable by being exposed to sunlight, humidity and fresh air. Using Natural rubber rather than synthetic rubber for baby rattles made from oil/petroleum, acts against climate change by increasing the number of trees and cutting back on the use of fossil fuels.
Rubber is harvested from a rubber tree by making an incision in the tree’s bark, from which the sap then flows. Rubber tapping is sustainably harvested.
Only buy Natural Rubber Teethers from a reputable source to ensure it is natural, not petroleum produced. The same goes for all your baby toys.
If you need to use a dummy for your baby, also known as a pacifier or soother, we also strongly recommend ONLY Natural Rubber such as these ones.
Some babies need something a bit harden then rubber or cotton, they really want to chomp on something hard so natural wood is ideal. Gepetto is a New Zealand company that we have loved for 20 yrs and our parents keep coming back for more of their unique, colourful safe toys for babies gums.
Organic Cotton is one of our favourites for so many reasons. It washes easily, it can be tied in knots easily to make a harder place for teething babies to chomp on. Organic Cotton Baby Teething toys are usually very cute! All the colours, animal shapes or natural shapes can be made easily with good design with organic cotton teething toys. Once again like all our recommendations, no chemicals are on these baby toys and they are the ideal non toxic, natural teething toy for a baby of any age. You can still enjoy a baby rattle with its gentle sound in toys such as these from Nature's Child.
We have already explained the benefits of non toxic natural rubber teething toys but we thought we should mention the bath briefly. Often we forget when it comes to bath time to keep bath toys simple and non toxic as well. Because they are in water a lot, it is that pesky hole that is often at the bottom of bath toys that is the biggest concern. Mould can grow in there which is very dangerous for babies health.
TEETHING TOYS TO AVOID
Any baby teething toys made from Nylon, Polyester or Plastic should be avoided. PVC and plastic became popular in the 70s, 80s and 90s as a baby teether for young infants sore gums because it was cheap and flexible material, but we now know better. Parents should avoid all soft plastic toys made from PVC or contain BPA.
BPA is one of many endocrine disruptive chemicals that can interfere with the body’s hormonal balance and could potentially lead to developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune system and other health issues. You can read more about this including research references teething
Nylon is a polymer which is a plastic with super-long, heavy molecules built up of short, endlessly repeating sections of atoms, just like a heavy metal chain is made of ever-repeating links. Nylon is not actually one, single substance but the name given to a whole family of very similar materials called polyamides.
Polyester is a synthetic polymer made of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) or its dimethyl ester dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) and monoethylene glycol (MEG). With 18% market share of all plastic materials produced, it ranges third after polyethylene (33.5%) and polypropylene (19.5%).
Plastic pellets are fed from a hopper into an extruder. Plastics are derived from organic products. The materials used in the production of plastics are natural products such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, salt and, of course, crude oil. Crude oil is a complex mixture of thousands of compounds.
If you click on the purple link headings above titled PLASTIC they start with the hilarious statement - "Plastics are derived from organic products. The materials used in the production of plastics are natural products such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, salt and, of course, crude oil" Need I really explain why this is hilarious?
So next time you see the word "derived from natural".....on anything including your skincare, it is written this way to make it sound natural but it is not!
Cheap Wooden Toys - old, cheap, painted wooden toys may contain lead if you don't know their country of origin. You should always have a contact for the company so you can contact the manufacturers to check on ingredients, check on any plastic toys that they don't contain phthalates which is almost impossible so just avoid PVC, Nylon and Plastic toys in my view.
Teethers made of PVC. Most of the teethers that can be chilled in the freezer are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a plastic that is softened with phthalates so avoid these. Choose Natural Rubber Toys instead for this same feeling for your baby.
Plastic teethers of any kind. Even if they say BPA– and phthalate-free, plastic teethers may still be toxic–all plastic is probably hormone disrupting.
Teething biscuits. These can be a choking hazard because they can snap in half which creates jagged edges in your baby’s mouth if they have not been softened enough with babies dribble. All the new data about wheat being suspect for gut health also suggests that it may be a good idea to only choose Gluten Free teething biscuits if you want to use them at all.
Instead of any of these above, you should look for teethers made of unpainted wood, 100% natural rubber, organic cotton, and silicone as mentioned in our article above.