Quality vs price in wooden toys
What to look for when buying wooden toys? Nowadays it is very easy to find different brands making their own version of a wooden toy. As all of them look very similar from the outside, it is sometimes difficult deciding which one to buy.
Last week I was visiting a friend and she asked me if there was any difference between a £20 wooden toy and a £5 wooden toy that looks very similar. Good question! The answer is yes, there is a difference.
There are several things to consider when selecting wooden toys:
We always look for toys that are made from sustainable hard wood. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the only certification scheme on the market that guarantees products that come from legal and responsibly managed sources. Wood labelled by the FSC comes from forests or plantations that are well managed according to strict environmentally and socially responsible standards.
Sometimes glue is needed to put pieces of the toy together. In Curvy balance board, for example, a few layers of wood are needed in order to create the curved shape. Glue is used to hold the different layers of wood together.
It is best to find toys made with formaldehyde-free glue due to it’s toxicity. Formaldehyde is a volatile organic chemical (VOC) which will off-gas (emit this chemical as a vapour for a long time). High levels of this formaldehyde can irritate the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. Worse yet, high exposure levels could increase your lifetime risk of getting cancer and leukemia.
When it comes to the sealant and/or paint, we recommend looking for water-based or food-grade dyes, paints and sealants. You have to be careful because conventional sealants and paints can include lead and other heavy metals which can cause serious impairments in the developing brains of babies and children. When buying wood toys that are not painted, you’ll want to look for finishes made with food-grade plant based oils (for example beeswax, jojoba oil) or child friendly lacquers.
Depending on where the toys are made and where the toys are going to be sold, they need to pass certain tests/certifications. Here in UK, any wooden toys must be CE certified and pass EN71 safety of toys certification
Quality over quantity
One of the unfortunate realities is that toys that are made with safer materials are typically more expensive. However, they’re also usually higher quality so they last much longer and can even be passed on to future generations.
The good news is that with the increasing number of healthy and safe toys around nowadays, you don’t have to sacrifice safety for fun, beauty or durability. And what is good for our kids and family is usually also better for the planet!
At Young & Learning, we strive to provide our customers with piece of mind when choosing our products. We’ve taken our time to design, choose the best materials and pass all the tests and certifications needed to ensure fun and safety for your kiddies.