Words cannot describe the feeling of holding your baby in your arms for the first time. So many thoughts race through your mind, but perhaps one of the strongest thoughts is how much you want to protect your sweet innocent baby from all the bad things in the world. Suddenly you become aware of all the potential sources of danger: from the food we eat to the air we breathe--even the crib we provide our child to sleep in, threats and potential threats seem to be everywhere, including toys
Plenty of people enjoy making hand-made toys and stuffed animals for children. No one wants to accidentally harm the child they hoped to delight with their work. Hand-made toys may contain small parts such as eyes, buttons or noses that can be pulled off. Filler material might be pulled free from within the toy and paints and dyes may flake off and be ingested. How can we be sure the materials we choose will be safe?
6060eyes offers two categories of eyes and noses: safety and craft. Each product is created with a different expectation for how it will be used. Selecting the proper type and ensuring it is used correctly could save a child's life. Additionally, all of our safety eye and nose products are certified lead free, including the paints used for our hand painted eyes.
Safety eyes and noses have been designed to pass government mandated product safety requirements created to prevent accidental removal and ingestion. They typically have locking systems designed to withstand more force than a small child can apply to remove them. But safety designs are only as good as the materials used to create the eyes and the expertise of the person installing them. Unfortunately the market has been flooded recently with low cost, cheaply made products. Buyers report they offen crack or split while trying to lock the washers in place. We won't sell them if we can avoid it, but even quality products can become cracked or damaged after installation by being stepped on or during extremely rough handling.
Craft eyes and noses are not designed this way and offer no promises for protection against removal and ingestion by small children. They are often connected with simple glue or perhaps a few stitches. These are intended for decorative use. We absolutely DO NOT recommend these items for use in any situation where accidental removal and ingestion is possible.
6060eyes does not usually sell filler materials, however we have had personal experiences with poly bead filler that worked its way between the seams of stuffed toys our daughters played with and we've seen toys where poly fill fibers were accessible through gaps in the seams. The gaps were likely created by a combination of loose stitching and the probing fingers of our kids. Both of these issues were discovered when our children were old enough to know not to eat the materials that worked loose from the toy, but still curious enough to want to see what was inside. Each would represent an obvious choking threat to small children unless used very carefully.
Toys are also often presented to older children and adults with special needs. If unwanted removal of applied noses, eyes or filler is a concern, be sure to factor in the relative strength an older recipient may bring to bear in an effort to remove these items from the toy. Safety eyes or noses, even if made of good quality materials and properly installed, may not be able to withstand the onslaught.
Fortunately, quality safety eyes and noses will almost certainly withstand any small child's efforts to remove them provided they are installed properly and not subsequently damaged. Even fully grown adults find it difficult to remove them. A hand-made toy that is lovingly created with careful consideration of the possible dangers can still become a treasured companion for your loved one once they are old enough to play with it rather than desconstruct it.
Even though we sell eyes and would love to sell them to everyone seeking them, safety comes first. Although a toy may be very well made and use the best quality materials. there's always the chance of later damage to the applied safety eye or nose that might quietly go unnoticed until it's too late. Therefore we recommend:
Any toy designed for infants, teething children, todlers or those who routinely place items in their mouths should avoid the use of safety eyes or noses, craft eyes or noses, buttons and any other applied feature than might be pulled free and ingested.
Use love stitches instead.
If you feel it is safe to provide your child with toys containing applied parts, be sure to inspect it first.
Test the installation of applied features such as eyes, noses and buttons to ensure the recipient cannot grab or bite the item well enough to crack it or pull it free.
Biting already damaged parts may cause them to come loose or fracture into pieces which can harm the child. Remove or replace them quickly.
Make sure the shaft and washer are well protected and can resist damage from being stepped on, closed in closet doors or drawers or smashed by a toybox lid. If a shaft or washer is damaged, remove and replace the part.
Introduce toys using applied safety features such as eyes and noses after the child has passed the stage of routinely placing foreign objects in their mouth and no longer shows a desire to bite or chew on their toys, Properly used safety eyes and noses add a whole new layer of personality and individuality to the toy. But even at this stage it's a good idea to periodically inspect and correct issues with these items--especially if a smaller sibling may have access to them.
Some parents also enjoy passing along a favorite toy from their childhood to their own children. When you feel the time is right to bring out your treasured childhood friend for your own child to enjoy, consider its age and whether the same safety standards were in place that exist today. Older toys often contained lead based paints. Eyes and noses were often connected by stitches that may have stretched over time or not be as strong as they once were. Remove or replace any parts you feel may represent a threat. Consider re-stuffing the toy with modern non-toxic filler materials to minimize exposure to allergens and dust mites that may reside in older stuffed toys.
With a little care, your treasure will become your child's treasure for many years to come.