Non-toxic bath toys are a must keeping your baby safe in the tub. Here’s our expert (parent) guide to the best chemical-free bath toys, with plenty of options we’ve used personally. BPA, PVC, Phthalates Free!
Bath time is A LOT of fun in our house.
We introduced the bath-book-bath sequence into our baby’s bath time and bedtime routine quite early on. And we try to stick with it as much as possible.
The result? Whenever we start to run the bath at night, she gets excited. She knows it will be a whole lot of fun and she’ll get to play with her favorite bath toys.
Bath time also means spending high quality, undistracted one-on-one time with her parents. With me (for her bath) and her dad (for the post-bath reading of her favorite baby books, pyjamas, and settling in on her crib mattress).
Once your kids are older and have transitioned out of their baby tub, you can also introduce homemade bath fun, such as DIY bubble dough, DIY bath paints, DIY bubble bath, and all sorts of bath games. These add a ton of fun (and add a ton of mess to clean up from your tub and toys – fair warning!).
Bath time brings predictability to our evenings. As parents, that’s awesome. The fact that it’s almost always followed by 11 to 12 blissful hours of sleep doesn’t hurt, either.
Thinking About Bath Toys and Safety
While bath time is a ton of fun, it’s also a source of some anxiety.
We always offer our daughter a ton of baby bath toys to choose from. Toys, after all, are crucial to a baby’s development.
But we’re always wondering and worrying. Are the toys and bath products (like kids shampoo, conditioner, detangler, and lotion) we use safe? Or are they filled with potentially harmful chemicals, like phthalates or fire retardants?
Unfortunately, not all bathtub toys (or baby bathtubs) are good news for your baby or the planet.
But toys can also leach chemicals into the bath water – and is more likely to do so at higher bath water temperatures.
So what’s the solution?
Non-Toxic Bath Toy Brands I Like and Use
There’s a few companies out there that are committed to making 100% safe and non-toxic products, across their entire line of toys. That makes it super easy as a consumer, which I love.
There are other companies that have a mix of materials across their product lines, such as foam in some toys (which is a hard no for me), and 100% food grade silicone in others (which is a yes for me).
Because of this, some of my recommendations below are for companies, and some are for specific toys.
I’ve also mostly chosen non toxic toys we have used in our own house, but have added in some alternatives I’ve yet to try personally that look good based on research.
I try to mention whether I’ve used one personally or not, and you’ll also probably notice because I have way more photos and images to share of the toys we actually own.
You’ll also notice I’ve included a range of different materials (yes, some of the toys we use at home are made from “safer” plastics), and manufactured in different countries (fair warning: there are some Made in China toys on this list).
I have my comfort level with these things, and you have your comfort level – which may be the same or different from mine. My goal is not to tell you what’s best for your family, but to provide you with some information to help you decide what works for you. And keep in mind, all of this is just my own personal opinion, so do some independent additional research if you feel you need it.
With all that out of the way, here are 10 bath toy brands I recommend and have included in my list, below:
- Green Toys Non Toxic Plastic Bath Toys (we have lots of these at our house!)
- Green Sprouts Sprout Ware Toys
- CaaOcho* (we have Kala the Whale at our house)
- Hevea* (we have Kawan the duck at our house)
- Oli & Carol*
- Tikiri Toys*
- Plan Toys Water Collection
- Fat Brain Toys (we have one of these at our house)
- Bunmo Silly Suckers (we have these at our house)
- HoneySticks Bath Crayons
The toys above marked with an asterisk (*) are made from natural latex or rubber. If you’re allergic or sensitive, they might not be the best option for your family. These include CaaOcho, Hevea, Oli & Carol, and Tikiri Toys.
My Personal Experience Using These Non Toxic Bath Toys
Of the non toxic bath toys I’ve included in this list, I’ve personally owned and used 9 toys from 5 of the brands: GreenToys (we have an airplane, a sea plane, a tug boat, a sea copter, the ferry, a submarine, and a rocket ship); CaaOcho (we have Kala the Whale); Hevea (we have a Kawan Duck); FatBrain Toys (we have the pipSquiz Loops); and Bunmo Silly Suckers. I offer my own personal experience with these products, and hope it helps you when it comes time to make with your own decision.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to use the other brands in my “alternatives” section yet, including Oli & Carol, Tikiri, the Green Sprouts Sprout Ware toys, Plan Toys water collection, and the Honey Sticks Bath Crayons. If I do have the chance to try these out in the future, I’ll be sure to update this post.
Manufacturing: Designed and made in the USA I Materials: Recycled milk jugs (100% recycled post-consumer high-density polyethylene [HDPE]) as well as recycled polypropylene and recycled low-density polyethylene (LDPE) I Non-Toxic Credentials: California-based company meeting some of the USA’s most stringent safety and chemical regulations; surpass USA and international standards for BPA and phthalates (they contain no BPA, PVC, phthalates, or coatings). These bath toys meet FDA food contact standards.
“We transform recycled milk jugs into imaginative playthings”
As a parent, it’s hard not to fall in love with these toys and their commitment to making today’s toys out of yesterday’s garbage. For every pound of used milk jugs the company uses to make a toy, they’re saving enough energy to power a laptop for an entire month. They also manufacture in a way to reduce their carbon footprint, and have thought out different ways to reduce the environmental impact of their products, such as using soy inks in their packaging, which is cardboard, not plastic. This also includes manufacturing in the USA, not overseas.
While your kids probably won’t care about the company’s environmental impact, I think they will love the toys (based on our personal experience in our house!).
We have a fairly good selection of these eco friendly bath toys in our own tub, including:
- The Seaplane and the Sea Copter. Both float on the surface of the water, unless their “float” areas get filled with water.
- Car Ferry. Very fun for ferrying cars around the bath tub.
- A Submarine. Fun for driving around the bath, and you can use it to scoop and pour out water, too.
- The Tugboat. Another great floating toy.
- And more (we also have a rocket ship and a “normal” airplane, which do not float but get used in our bath anyway)
Speaking from that personal experience, they are indeed great toys.
One thing I love about these toys is they’re really suitable for older kids, not just babies. While the natural rubber/natural latex toys – like the Hevea, Oli & Carol, and CaaOcho bath toys – are adorable, there came a point in our bath time play that my kiddo wanted something more interactive.
Our bath toys work in the bath and out, and are great for the kind of imaginative play and scenarios that preschoolers and early-school aged kids make up.
Since some of the toys float in the bath, you can do a lot of imaginative play with them. We play “cars on the ferry” a lot, and also use the sea plane, sea copter, submarine, and tug boat for various imaginative scenarios, such as bath time rescues and kids taking the boats to school.
For this reason, I think these are a great investment to your non-toxic bath toys collection. They’ll last well beyond the baby years (at least, they have in our house) and are awesome for unstructured and imaginative play in the bath and out.
While it’s tempting to equate non toxic toys with plastic free toys, I really don’t think this is the case when it comes to this brand. They’re awesome and my family loves them.
The stacking cups look awesome for babies.
“Guided by principles, we design and develop innovative and award-winning products from safer materials that empower parents to get outside with their children and support natural parenting.”
Manufacturing: Unknown (I have contacted the company to ask) I Materials: Sprout Ware® plant-plastic I Parent Run: Founded by a mom looking for better products for her kids, Green Sprouts now includes her adult children in the company! I Non-Toxic Credentials: “100% plant-based material that replaces petroleum plastics to avoid harmful chemicals such as PVC and hormone-disrupting BPA, BPS, BPF, BFDGE, NOGE or BADGE additives.”
We’ve yet to try bath toys made from Green Sprout’s Sprout Ware® plant-plastic, but we certainly want to throw it out as an innovative option.
Green Sprouts was founded by Becky Cannon, and has long been committed to making products for babies and children out of safer materials. Their proprietary Sprout Ware® is a step on this journey, and was 10 years in the making. According to the company, their Sprout Ware® is non toxic and environmentally friendly. Described as such in this JPMA news release:
The Sprout Ware® plant-plastic is a 100% plant-based material that replaces petroleum plastics to avoid harmful chemicals such as PVC and hormone-disrupting BPA, BPS, BPF, BFDGE, NOGE or BADGE additives.
The company makes floating boats and stacking cups from their plant-based plastic.
“We pride ourselves on creating products that we feel comfortable giving to our own child”
Manufacturing: Designed in Vancouver, Canada; Made of raw materials from Malaysia and assembled and decorated in Malaysia and China I Materials: 100% natural rubber from Hevea Brasiliensis trees (aka: rubber trees); I Parent Run: Started by Tanya and Olek, and inspired by their daughter Nicole I Non-Toxic Credentials: Food-grade paints are certified non-toxic and heavy metal free; toys are certified non-toxic BPA, PVC, Phthalate, and Nitrosamine free.
CaaOcho has a line of ocean-themed toys made from natural rubber. They use bright colors and fun, cartoon-like designs littles will love.
The company has four cute ocean creature designs: Nalu the Seahorse, La the Butterfly Fish, Mele the Sea Turtle, and Kala the Whale. These are a great option if you want to avoid plastic, and are especially suited for older babies and the two and up crowd, who will want to play with them a bit, and splash them around.
We have Kala the Whale in our own house, can attest to her being fun to play with! What I like about the CaaOcho toys for older babies, as compared to the Hevea toys (which I think are great for young babies), is they’re more substantial feeling.
Holding our Kala the Whale toy in my hands, it feels like it’s made out of a soft plastic, not natural rubber, and as such I feel like it’ll be able to withstand the abuse older babies, terrible twos, and threenagers might put it though – banging, trying to sit on it, throwing it, etc.
CaaOcho company only sells hermetically sealed bath toys as a mold safety measure. Since liquid can’t get inside the toys, this design ensures they’ll stay mold free on the inside, which is one less thing to worry about (and clean).
Because they’re BPA, PVC, and phthalate free, you won’t have to worry when your kid sticks this in their mouth (which they inevitably will).
“HEVEA began as a question that needed an answer: how to take care of our children and our planet just a little bit better.”
Manufacturing: Danish-design, made in Malaysia, Morocco I Materials: 100% natural rubber from Hevea Brasiliensis trees (aka: rubber trees) I Parent Run: Founded by Terese shortly after having her baby I Non-Toxic Credentials: BPA, PVC, Phthlatae Free
Hevea products are made from FSC certified natural rubber trees.
They’re all sealed, meaning there’s no holes for water to get into (and mold). I’ve had to throw out more than a few bath toys in my day after seeing black water sloshing around inside, so appreciate when toy makers go to the effort to prevent mold from taking root.
According to Hevea Communications Director, Torben Hoffeldt:
The latex we use is 100% natural and all our products are throughly tested with internationally acclaimed testing agencies. Whenever we enter a market, we naturally meet all the safety standards. Since all our products are made from natural rubber, our products per definition “contains no plastic, BPA, petroleum, phthalates, PVC, or artificial additives”.
We have a Hevea rubber duck, and this is one of my top choices for babies because it is so soft to the touch.
In my experience, very young children can be extremely touch sensitive when it comes to anything that feels hard or rough. Our Hevea bath toy is silky soft, and really pleasant to touch when it’s wet or dry. For this reason, I prefer Hevea to CaaOcho for infants and baby’s first bath toys.
I’ll admit, I largely expected them to be completely comparable products when I bought them, but actually there’s a key difference that led me to choose CaaOcho as the better choice for older babies, and Hevea as a better choice for younger babies.
And it comes down to how soft and pliable they each are to touch and play with. Namely, our CaaOcho toy feels way more sturdy and tough, more like the feel of plastic or traditional rubber. This is good news for use with older babies and up, who are prone to being a bit rougher with their toys.
Our Hevea duck, on the other hand, is buttery soft and silk smooth, and feels a lot more delicate. I think it’s a great choice for younger babies because it’s so soft to touch, and nice to feel up against your skin.
Natural Rubber Bath Toys Alternative #1: Oli & Carol
“Oli & Carol is a fun, young, creative and happy brand specialized in designing cool natural toys for modern parents and their kids offering a wide variety of retro designs inspired from the 60s and 70s in pastel and monochrome colors.”
Manufacturing: Designed in Barcelona, made in Morocco I Materials: 100% natural rubber from Hevea Brasiliensis trees (aka: rubber trees); hand-painted with food-grade dyes I Family Run: Started by 2 sisters, Olimpia and Carolina I Non-Toxic Credentials: PVC, BPA, Phthalates and Nitrosamines free
These toys are gorgeous, come with a sense of vintage whimsy, and are another great choice for families looking for plastic free bath toys.
They look cool enough that you won’t have to hide them from site when guests come to visit, and they may even strike up a conversation, since they have a comforting old-timey look to them.
There’s no worry of mould growing in Oli & Carol toys. The company seals them to prevent water from getting in. And they’re all PVC, BPA, Phthalates and Nitrosamines free.
One of my favorite things about the Oli & Carol products is they have really cute shapes: an elephant, an avocado, kale, and coconut slices are a few examples of their offering! They’re all super adorable.
Natural Rubber Alternative #2: Tikiri Toys
“Tikiri is a family run business based in Sri Lanka (which is where much of the world’s natural latex and rubber originates from). The toys are handmade using GOLS certified organic natural latex.“
Manufacturing: Ethically made in Sri Lanka I Materials: GOLS-Certified organic latex I Non-Toxic Credentials: BPA free, Phthalate free and PVC free.
As with the Oli & Carol toys, I haven’t used these ones personally yet, so I can’t provide the same level of detail and comparison as I did with CaaOcho and Hevea.
However, I love the emphasis on ethical manufacturing with Tikiri, and the fact that the latex is organic.
The designs are cute too, and go beyond rubber duckies, which may be more interesting to older babies.
Best Eco Friendly Wood Bath Toys: Plan Toys Water Collection
Manufacturing: Sustainably Designed and Made in Thailand I Materials: Made from PlanWood (made from surplus sawdust and wood scraps, such as tree branches, from chemical-free rubberwood trees); formaldehyde-free glue; organic pigments and water-based dyes. I Eco Friendly and Non-Toxic Credentials: Water Based Dyes, Eco Friendly Packaging,
“With a strong mission to create a sustainable world, PlanToys intentionally considers every single step of production in order to minimize environmental impact.”
Plan Toys has been making iconic wooden toys since 1981, with a focus on sustainability, product safety, and child development since the start.
Designed at the company’s headquarters in Bangkok, the company has an impressive commitment to sustainability. More than 70% of the materials used in their toys come from a 30km radius around the Thai factory, minimizing the carbon footprint of raw materials traveling to the factory. The company also applies responsible forest management, using wood from local rubberwood trees which no longer produce rubber, and making use of wood scraps (such as tree branches) and left over sawdust to create their PlanWood product (which uses Formaldehyde free glue).
Quite unique among wooden toy companies, Plan Toys makes a series of wood toys suited to water play – in the bath and beyond.
I think Plan Toys’ water toys are suited for babies to preschoolers – they’re bright and colorful, and smooth to the touch, and well suited to splashing around with and incorporating into imaginative play.
Awesome non toxic bath toys that are plastic free.
Manufacturing: FatBrain toys manufactures around the world. The Squigz, pipSquiz and pipSquigz Loops, and Suction Kupz toys featured below are all made in China I Materials: 100% food grade silicone, BPA free and latex free for Squigz, pipSquiz and Suction Kupz. The pipSquiz Loops have plastic loops, with the exact type of plastic unclear.
“Our mission is to enrich families and provide “A Smarter Way to Play” by inspiring creativity and sparking curiosity.”
We have a few Fat Brain toys in our house, and they always get rave reviews from the littles that use them. As a parent, I find them very creative, and great for creating open-ended play scenarios where children can lead the way, using the toys however they see fit.
We have a set of the pipSquiz Loops at our house, which is made from a silicone main part, with plastic loops. The plastic loops aren’t my favorite, to be honest, and if I had to re-purchase, I’d buy a 100% silicone option.
Being made of silicone, these are plastic free toys (except for the pipSquiz Loops, mentioned above), and also latex free. If you want to avoid plastic in your bath toys, and also need to avoid natural rubber (latex) due to allergy concerns, silicone is a wonderful option.
The pipSquiz are meant for little ones (babies and 1 year olds) and the Squiz are meant for older kiddos (3 and up, roughly). The difference is the Squiz really gets into letting your child build stuff, sticking the suction cup ends together to create different structures while in the bath.
The Suction Kupz are another great silicone toy from Fat Brain, great for measuring, pouring, and transfering bath water, mixing up “potions,” and sticking to the bath with the suction.
Manufacturing: Made in China I Materials: 100% silicone I Non-Toxic Credentials: The company has had the entire product independently tested, including the storage bag and wall attachment suction cups. The silicone silly suckers themselves have been found to be free from lead, phthalates, BPA, and 8 other metals, as posted in the Certificate of Analysis on the product’s listing page.
I hesitated including this product on my list, because I’m usually not keen on smaller companies that aren’t super forthcoming about what they make their product from.
However, this company posts the toys’ certificate of analysis online on their Amazon listing page, showing their third party testing results. The certificate (which was available online at the time of writing) shows which chemicals the product has been independently tested for and what the results are. I’ve reviewed the Certificate of Analysis that was online at the time of writing, and feel comfortable with the results, which is why we have this toy in our own house.
We use them exclusively in the bath (although you could definitely use them out of the bath too), and build structures, lines, towers, and more with them. They are super fun for slightly older kiddos, preschoolers and up, and great at encouraging STEM skills through building and creating different structures. We also use them for imaginative play (they form roads, speed bumps, etc).
Bath crayons are a hit in our house, and these ones are a great non toxic choice. Fragrance free and using food-quaility coloring, they’re made from beeswax and soy wax, and use a plant-based emuslifier.
Paraffin wax free with a biodegradable wrapper.
What Exactly Do We Mean by “Non Toxic Bath Toys”
First, it’s worth noting the US has decent standards when it comes to regulating the safety of products designed for babies and children, toys included.
However, in my opinion, those standards – while good – are far from perfect. Chemicals like phthalates, PVC, fire retardants and more are sometimes found in products designed for children, and those are all chemicals and materials I personally choose to avoid for my family (at least, as much as is possible).
I think I’m not alone in this, and there are lots of families out there who want to go above and beyond when it comes to product safety, most especially when buying things our babies and kiddos are going to be using.
These days, there are also lots of families – like mine – that also want to take the environment into consideration when shopping for products for our homes and families. Which is awesome!
My main hope with this blog post is to offer my own personal experience, along with some of the research I’ve done around bath toys and different options on the market. I hope it offers the information you need to make the right decision for your own family.
Materials and Toxic Chemicals I Want to Avoid in Bath Toys
- Foam – This includes polyurethane foam, EVA foam, and plant-based foam, which are commonly found in bath puzzles. You can read my concerns around polyurethane foam here (a lot of it comes down to fire retardants). Plant based foam, in my opinion, isn’t much better. And EVA foam, while originally billed as a safer alternative to other materials, comes with some concern around formamide release, which is a carcinogen.
- PVC – PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is also known as vinyl, vegan leather, or pleather, and the more I learn about it, the more I’m motivated to avoid it in my family’s life. PVC has been found to contain phthalates, heavy metals, and organotins – not great ever, but especially when we’re giving them to babies and children. I tend to avoid most waterproof bath books due to my concerns around PVC, and because most bath book companies don’t explain specifically what they’re made of.
- Flame retardants – Flame retardant chemicals have suspected links to IQ reduction and learning disabilities, thyroid disruption, cancer, and fertility issues.
- Phthalates – These “everywhere chemicals” are tricky to avoid, since they’re in so many things, but in particular they’re used in PVC to make the plastic flexible (as well as in a number of personal care products, which is why I try to buy fragrance free and look for those free from phthalates specifically).
- BPA (and BPS) – Since the “hard water bottle” scandal when BPA was found in a brand many families used and trusted, most manufacturers are quick to label their plastics as BPA free. An alternative chemical, BPS, however, seems to be used commonly, with concerns around it as well.
- VOCs – These are chemicals that “off gas” at room temperature, transferring from within the product to the air in our homes. Some materials are more known for off-gassing, and VOCs are one great reason to buy a non toxic and organic kids mattress and crib mattress – to prevent that off gassing process.
- Heavy Metals – Choose lead free paint and pigments, and natural and non toxic dyes when possible.
Materials I’m Good With
- Wood– When purchasing wood toys you’re going to use in the bath, you want to make sure they’re designed for use in the water, such as the Plan Toys’ water line. If the toys are painted, ensure its done so using non toxic paint/pigment/dyes to avoid concerns around heavy metals, especially lead.
- PET/PETE – You can read more about my opinions on PET here.
- Silicone – Most of us are familiar with silicone and safety these days, due to its prevalence in kitchenware. It’s also a great choice for the bath, and we have a lot of fun playing with our silicone toys including FatBrain pipSquiz and Bunmo Silly Suckers.
- Natural Latex / Natural Rubber – This is one of the more popular materials for non toxic and eco friendly options, as it’s a great alternative to PVC, and you can still get great colors out of it. While it shouldn’t pose a problem if you have a latex allergy, I’ve definitely seen parents mention it does bother them, so if you have a latex allergy you might want to skip these ones.
- HDPE and LDPE: I’ve written before about PET/PETE, but not specifically about HDPE or LDPE. Green Toys in particular uses this type of plastic, which is recycled from single use water bottles and is BPA, PVC, phthalates, or coating free.
A Note About Mold
One issue with anything designed for use in the bath is, well, they get wet. And anything that gets wet, and then sits for awhile without drying out entirely, is prone to mold.
Mold is bad news for human health, which is why it’s important to choose designs that were created to prevent mold.
This includes looking for toys that are fully sealed, with no holes are cracks/crevices for water to get into, forgotten about, and grow into a moldy health hazard.
Other than sealed toys, look for toys that are more or less made from a solid piece of a material, or those that open up completely for cleaning. Basically, you want to make sure there’s nowhere where the water can get in, and if it does, that you can clean it.
Additional Tips for a Non Toxic, Safe, and Fun Bath Experience
- Don’t use super old, vintage toys in the bath. Safety standards have changed a lot over the years, and putting those old toys in warm water, without knowing what’s in them, seems ill advised.
- Use a non toxic bathtub (you can check out my advice on the best non toxic bath here)
- Keep the water a safe temperature (a thermometer is a great idea)
Many parents, if not all of us, want to do what’s best for their family. And this includes finding safe and enjoyable products to use across all aspects of our families lives.
When it comes to bath time, the best bath toys for your family are going to change as your little ones move from different ages and stages to the next.
I hope I’ve offered a good overview of some of my family’s favorite toys, so you can find your family’s favorite, too.