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Second Hand September – Great for Fashion, Not for Baby Toys
- Gaynor Humphrey
Have you taken the Second Hand Challenge? As part of their campaign to help people reduce waste Oxfam has launched its Second Hand September campaign.
The campaign highlights the astonishing (and rather depressing) fact that 11 million pieces of clothing goes in to landfill every week and encourages people to buy only 2nd hand clothes for 30 days.
We are 100% behind this campaign as a way of stopping the cycle of fast fashion. It is more than evident that producing clothes which are worn just once before being binned is completely wrong. Buying 2nd hand clothes is just as cheap and way more environmentally friendly than continuing to buy new.
The teenagers are leading the way with this, they buy more fashion than most other people but they also utilise technology to re-sell it using apps such as Depop. Despite the fact that they are not known to frequent charity shops in the same way other generations have they are huge fans of the vintage shops, especially ones which sell clothes by the kilo.
However, although we whole heartedly support the concept of buying 2nd hand clothes we would like to encourage people to think twice before buying 2nd hand baby toys.
There are two main reasons for our reluctance to encourage people to buy 2nd hand toys.
The first is that you have no idea how much wear and tear the baby toy has endured before it is passed on. One person’s “nearly new” is another person’s “worn and torn” and invisible damage to a baby toy can cause safety issues. The main issue with toy safety for baby toys is small parts which is why our dinosaur toys have embroidered eyes.
If you are given 2nd hand soft toys its always best to check for small parts such a plastic eyes and noses. If the baby toy has been chewed or gone through the washing machine one too many times the threads or glue holding these may have been weakened. Sequins and other decorative parts may also come off soft toys so please avoid giving your baby any toy which may have small parts however cute it may be.
The 2nd issue is about testing standards. You can do a physical test for small parts but what you cannot check for is flammability and any chemicals used in production. Testing for toys evolves and moves on every year as we become more aware of issues with different products. It’s hard to think that during my childhood many toys had lead paint in them, even baby toys which could be chewed on. But it not just old toys which have safety issues. This year Squishes have been popular but some brands have perfumed their designs and this contained a chemical which was potentially dangerous if swallowed. If you buy or are given 2nd hand toys then you cannot know how old they are and if they comply to current testing standards.
Obviously it’s good for toys to be passed on to be enjoyed by more children in the same way that its good for clothes to be worn more often. However, unless baby toys have really not been used then we would recommend buying new for young babies.