Play and learn
Children learn about the world through play. Toys that entertain and educate can be both mechanical and electrical, made of plastic and wood, metal or fabric. The safety requirements for toys are now high, but this has not always been the case. There is therefore a risk that old toys and toys bought outside the EU carry more than just nice memories.
Toys made of soft plastic sometimes contain phthalates which make the plastic soft. Potentially dangerous phthalates have been banned in the EU since 2007 in products intended for children. These regulations apply to toys and other accessories for children that are manufactured in the EU or imported into the EU from other parts of the world. However, plastic toys that were manufactured prior to 2007 or you as a consumer have bought outside of the EU may still contain the hazardous phthalates.
If an old toy is sticky or smells, this may be an indication that it is releasing substances that are not allowed in new toys. In that case, it is better to give the child something else to play with.
Paints, crayons and glue
Paints, crayons and glues intended for children must be water-based and therefore do not contain hazardous solvents. Oil paints and other types of hobby product that are targeted at adults should therefore not be used by children.
All cosmetics must have a list of ingredients, but make-up products for children, such as face paints, are sometimes poorly labelled or lack a list of ingredients. Only buy products that have a list of ingredients and Swedish instructions. Also bear in mind that make-up for dolls must not be used on the skin.
Many toys contain batteries that allow them to light up and make sounds. Old batteries can leak corrosive substances, so please ensure that the battery compartment is securely closed and that old or leaking batteries are handed over to a battery collection point. If the battery cannot be removed, you can hand in the toy to the shop. The retailer is obliged to deal with products that have built-in batteries. Bear in mind that small button-cell batteries are easy for small children to swallow. If they get stuck, they can damage the mucous membranes in the oesophagus, stomach or intestine and cause major injuries.
Products that are made for children are often safer than those made for adults. That is why you should use toys that are appropriate to the age of your child.
Models and playdough
Models and playdough are often made of plastic with varying quantities of additives and should not be used by children who may put it in their mouth.
Construction kits to build models of cars, planes and boats are not intended for small children. Paints and glue in construction kits almost always contain solvents that can irritate the eyes and airways and cause headaches. If an older child is working with a construction kit, it is a good idea to ensure that the room is well-ventilated.