Friday, June 22, 2012

Handmade Toys and Toy Safety

Almost everybody would agree that when it comes to toys, handmade toys, using natural materials, are probably as safe as you can get.  It is also reasonable to think that makers of handmade toys are personally 'handing' their toys over to their friends and family and are very particular about what goes into those toys.  Here, at Zephyr Art, safety is VERY important to us.  When we were predominantly using button eyes we sewed them on by hand until we were SURE our toddlers could not pry them off with their little razor teeth.
We were told, and we read, that 'safety eyes' are safer than buttons and, though we don't necessarily agree, we have incorporated them into our designs.  We reinforce each safety eye with glue, and for the very small eyes, glue and and a few strategic stitches. (...and we highly recommend that all crafters do this, as we have seen these eyes dislodge, especially when used with polar fleece.)  We have switched to using all new materials unless we find recycled items that are clearly labeled as natural fiber (cotton or wool), and we have made sure to design with little hands, mouths and curiosity in mind.  We have watched our children try to eat, pull apart and strangle themselves with a slew of store bought toys and have tried to avoid designs that might, in any way cause alarm and, we are confident, will not cause harm.  We believe that most crafters, artists, and makers of handmade toys do all these things as well.  There is no fortune to be made in the making of 'handmade' anything and it is almost always a labor of love.

Due to the major influx of factory merchandise we have seen strict safety laws put into effect in the United States.  Fortunately there are organizations that are fighting for the makers of handmade goods and there are some exemptions that make things easier to comply with the laws.

We are happy to announce that all or our toys are now safety compliant and labeled as such.  We have jumped through every hoop and can offer our toys in the most discriminating markets. :) Our registration numbers and safety info are now listed on our tags, which are sewn into our toys.

We believe that our toys have always been safe and we believe that handmade toys, made in homes and studios throughout the United States, though certified or not are safer than mass produced factory toys.  We believe that they are worth the investment it takes to make them and the higher prices that they must demand for artists to continue to make them.  We appreciate all those that buy arts and crafts, homemade items, local items, products made in the USA and other sustainable, even though often more expensive merchandise!  Thank you!

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