I don't think there is anything wrong with plastic toys made from safer plastics like #1, #2, #4 or #5. The problem is many plastic toy makers do not provide that information on their products and several still make toys with bpa or phthalates in them.
Other than books, the only toys we got for our children when they were babies were either organic cotton ones, homemade felt or upcycled ones, and wooden toys made in Germany and Thailand.
Why wooden toys?
- On an aesthetic level, I prefer the look of wooden toys that are made by responsible companies.
- I like that Haba and Holztiger and Nic and some PlanToys are considered heirloom toys that are sturdy enough to be passed along to future generations.
- I like the fact that they are more natural looking and make you use your imagination, and I love that they aren't battery operated. With two kids and a dog, there is enough chaos in my house. No need to add loud toy sounds and flashing lights to the mix.
These are just personal preferences.
Since several plastic companies do not disclose what their toys are made of, and I prefer wooden and cloth toys or homemade toys, I just never purchased any plastic toys.
However, once my older son was around 16 months old, we needed outdoor toys, and those are generally plastic. So for our slide and water table and outdoor riding car, we turned to Step 2. Several of their toys are made in America and they have the recycling codes listed on many of their toys too, so you know what kind of plastic you're getting.
And when my son turned 2, we got him some Lego Duplos. As a friend of mine, who also has wooden toys for almost all their toys, puts it, there is no wooden equivalent for Legos. Legos end up being a big social activity for children and they are phthalate and bpa free, unlike some of the imitation Legos out there.