Thursday, January 10, 2008

Plastic Bath Toys - no more toxic rubber duckies

Happy New Year! Linnea has decided that the computer is a wonderful thing and this makes it very hard to get any writing done, so posts may be slow for a while. She wants to help. Uggh!

While I love this busy stage, I'm hoping she'll move onto something else soon. So stay with me because I have tons of ideas and loads of Christmas toys to review.

I've been meaning to write about bath toys for a while. When Arielle was younger she played with a huge collection of rubber duckies until her mommy read about phthalates and PVC's and then all the rubber duckies swam away. As did the plastic stacking cups and foam bath books.

Unfortunately, plastic is the best material for bath toys. It is waterproof, easy to clean and resists molding. Two companies that make great PVC-free, phthalate-free bath toys (and sand toys) are Spielstabil and Gowi (both made in Europe).

The best selection of Spielstabil is at Maukilo.

A great place to start is the Spielstabil Bath Set ($14.75). The set includes a rubber duckie, a small cup with a water wheel, a larger cup with holes in the bottom, a boat and a water scoop. Last night, I was filling the cup with holes and letting it drip like a shower on Linnea's tummy and she was giggling and giggling. We may need another set because I have not been able to find another PVC-free duckie, and the duckie is quite the coveted item.

I've reviewed the Baby Bucket ($5.95) before. This bucket is great for a toddler to take outdoors and it is great for the bathtub. My children like to pretend to cook with bath water.

Another multi-use toy is the set of five nesting cups ($8.95). Lucky Linnea has two sets - one for stacking and one for the bath. Some of the cups have holes and others don't, so they are fun for playing with and useful for rinsing soapy baby hair. The largest cup has a handle, so it can double as a bucket.

Older children will enjoy filling the bucket with water using the Spielstabil water pump ($10.75). This really works and Arielle really enjoys getting water for the rubber duck.

Gowi toys are made in Poland and Austria. They are bright and colorful safe plastic and pretty hard to find in the U.S., but last year I bought great sand toys at Mastermind toys. We brought the sand toys in for the winter and sometimes use them in the bath. The watering cans are great for rinsing shampoo off "pretty flowers".

Unfortunately, these Gowi bath buckets are out of stock, but I'll update when I can find them again.

Finally, these are probably Made in China, but my daughters love the Alex Tub Tunes water flutes ($9.56). In this case, I may be compromising safety for a learning experience.

I did throw out the soft smelly-plastic connector, so they use these individually. Linnea is so proud that she can make noise and Arielle experiments with changing the volume of water. No symphonies yet, just a lot of fun.

Kathe Kruse (Germany) makes some lovely vinyl bath babies ($54.95-$94.95). These dolls are meant to be played with in the tub and then dried and dressed in their pretty outfits or jammies - what fun for little mommies. I would love to get one, but it would have to be two..... and that would be pricey.

There are also a few non-plastic (wood and cloth) bath toys floating around. However, they tend to be pricier and require extra care to prevent molding. One exception are bath puppets that can be tossed in the washing machine.

Kathe Kruse squirting fish ($9.99)


Woodmouse said...

Great selection of bath toys! We have a natural latex rubber duckie and like it a lot, so that is another option. Here is one: although I think you can find them elsewhere for less.

Sara said...

Thanks, Woodmouse.
I found them for less at Tiny
Bird Organics
Very cute.

Christy said...

Great post! Bath toys are the worst. Here is the wooden boat for less...

Steph said...

It's great to see you're searching out safer bath toys. Unfortunately, I noticed the rubber ducky set is actually packaged in PVC which can then contaminated and leech onto teh toys. Yuck!

You should check out Sprig for some great bath toys made of recycled food grade plastic! Paint and BPA FREE too!

Thanks! Steph

Sara said...

True, Steph. Fortunatelu, we've had a lot of great new bath toy options in the last few years. Green toys just came out with a few - all PVC free.
I'd love to review some Sprig as well.
And lately, my kids love medicine droppers and kitchen utensils in the bath.

Anonymous said...

I also have a little girl named Linnea! She's just getting into the bath toy stage. I bought the Rich Frog natural rubber duck. There are also have different varieties (like a pirate duck and a baby duck). I also have cotton cloth books from my childhood and terrycloth puppets. Cloth is fine for the bath; as long as it's not stuffed you can throw it in the washer/dryer.