You want to make children happy with cuddly toys, dolls and wooden toys. However, regular scandals and shocking test results create uncertainty when buying children’s toys. If you want to give away healthy, environmentally friendly and fair toys, you should pay attention to a few things. Nobody wants chemicals that are harmful to health and the environment or small parts that can be swallowed in children’s toys. Unfortunately, avoiding this is not that easy. There are some seals and test marks for toys, but hardly any is comprehensive and reliable. As a rule of thumb, test toys with all your senses before buying them. If it smells unpleasant, has sharp edges or corners, or appears unstable at first glance, you should definitely not buy it.
The most important toy seals and what they mean CE marking for toys
Many products, including toys, carry the CE mark. What many do not know: This is not a seal of quality, with a CE mark (“CE” stands for European Community) the manufacturer only guarantees that the product complies with the currently applicable European safety guidelines. This is not an external certification: The manufacturer applies the CE mark to the product himself. The CE mark is therefore nothing more than a minimum standard .
GS seal on toys
In contrast, the voluntary GS seal is based on external testing of the safety of the toy. It is largely based on compliance with the requirements of the Equipment and Product Safety Act. When testing for pollutants, it goes a little further and also sets maximum values for polycyclic aromatic hydrogens (PAHs). The CE mark and GS mark stand for safety, but do not represent a quality mark .
The Blue Angel for toys
The Blue Angel is the official symbol for environmentally friendly products; the Federal Environment Agency is responsible for the criteria. Toys with the Blue Angel are tested for harmful substances, safety-tested and social aspects have been taken into account in raw material extraction and production. The criteria for pollutants are even above the legal requirements . Unfortunately, only a few toys have so far carried the Blue Angel for toys.
TUV test mark for toys
The various test marks of TÜV Rheinland certify various aspects determined by the TÜV itself. The TÜV Rheinland PROOF mark essentially stands for compliance with statutory safety standards. The TOXPROOF mark is given to low-pollutant products. LGA tested only checks a single aspect of the toy, such as the educational “play value”, while the LGA tested Quality seal checks the product quality, but not the safety.
Play well seal
The spiel gut seal evaluates the educational value of toys. Only toys that are useful for children receive this award; however, it is not checked for pollutants.
Seal for textile toys
With textile toys it is advisable to pay attention to at least the Oeko-Tex seal , but better to the GOTS or IVN seal . Wood should come from local forestry or be FSC®-certified and unpainted or coated with non-toxic paints. Good manufacturers usually point out when saliva-proof, water-soluble, non-toxic, or natural paints and waxes are used.
Game of the year
Every year a jury selects the “Game of the Year”, the “Expert Game of the Year” and the “Children’s Game of the Year”. When selecting the critics’ award , all new publications are taken into account, from parlor games to card games to board games. The criteria for awarding the prize are the game idea, the design and formulation of the rules, the game design and layout.
VDE mark for electric toys
The VDE mark is awarded by the Association of Electrical, Electronics and Information Technology. The symbol stands for electronic security, provided that it is used properly. Attention: Electronic devices do not have to bear the mark, in toy shops there are also various unsafe products without the VDE mark.
Children’s toys: no more plastic
Firstly, cheap plastic toys from the Far East are often of inferior quality; secondly, their pollution can be very high. Such toys are therefore unhealthy for children. Third, the environment and workers often suffer from the production conditions in Asia. And fourth, the production and disposal of plastic is one of our greatest environmental problems today.
Anyone who buys plastic toys should at least pay attention to voluntary information such as “PVC-free,” phthalate-free “or” BPA-free “. In any case, toys made of wood or textiles make more sense. Untreated wooden toys such as building blocks or small vehicles are both educationally valuable and harmless to health. However, you should make sure that the wood comes from sustainable forestry.
Buying toys made from organic cotton or wool from controlled organic animal husbandry also significantly reduces the risk of pollution.
Children’s toys: quality instead of quantity
Well-made toys made of high-quality materials cost a little more. But it has the big advantage that it is more durable and stable than cheap stuff. This saves you rubbish and, in the long term, money too – and the children can enjoy the toys longer. If the interest evaporates at some point, they can be passed on to younger siblings, neighboring children or even the next generation.
Children’s toys: they don’t always have to be new
Sooner or later, children will grow out of almost all toys. It can therefore be worthwhile to buy used toys instead of new ones. In particular, expensive toys such as rocking horses, model trains or dollhouses are usually very easy to get used – and older models are often even more beautiful and durable than new ones. And if your own child no longer plays with it: just pass it on. Social department stores, second-hand shops or flea markets will certainly be grateful for toys that are in good condition.