I decided to clean out the toy box this week.
After writing about phthalates and lead in toys and about BPA-filled plastic in other baby items, I decided I ought to take a closer look at what my daughter has been playing with and happily gumming these past months. I figured that getting rid of two or three worrisome items would make room for the new additions the holidays are likely to bring.
In retrospect, part of me wishes I'd just keep the lid shut on that Pandora's toy box. If ignorance is bliss, then a little knowledge is just enough to make you crazy. Finding information online is time-consuming, inconclusive and a headache that most of us don't have time for.
The problem with toys is that if they are made with plastics that contain phthalates or Bisphenol-A or if plastic or wood is covered in lead-laced paint, the chemicals can leech out of the toys as kids suck on them, potentially wreaking long-term havoc on little bodies.
Most of the new toys my daughter has received are fine because the better toy companies have begun to avoid ingredients like phthalates as consumers have become aware of their problems. And my daughter is too young for play jewelry, a common culprit where lead is concerned.
But like most parents I know, I've more than once accepted a bagful of hand-me-down toys from a friend with older kids and I've picked things up at stoop sales. These are the toys that had me Web-surfing and feeling like the Grinch as the pile of toys I feel compelled to dump grew bigger than I expected. Equally tall is the pile of things I'm not sure about.