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5 February 2014

The Safety Eye Debate...


As I have started to create a few more little crafty presents for friends something has been concerning me.  The items I have been making recently have been toys for children, or more specifically young babies and of course careful consideration must go into the materials you are using.  Toys bought from shops go through rigorous safety checks so really any crafted toys should too, especially if you are thinking of selling these items.

For my crochet pals I always use baby wool, usually Lullaby by Stylecraft which clearly states its suitability for babies.  I use toy stuffing and ensure that the package clearly states the CE and is non allergenic and fire retardant etc.  But for a few little toys I have used safety eyes.. that's them in the pic above.


Here you can see a little Itty Bitty Bunny I made for baby Madeline, he has safety eyes and an embroidered nose, I used tapestry wool for this.  I chose to use safety eyes at first as I am un confident in my embroidering ability and the face is so important, it gives the toy its personality and 'cuteness'.

The way these eyes work is that you put the post through your work and secure the washer onto the back.  If you push the washer right up to the top of the pin there is no way these are coming off, they are so secure.  I guess that's why they are called safety eyes, once joined you cannot part them so in theory cannot come off!  They eyes come in many different sizes, shapes and colours.

Here you can see baby Lyra's bear has a safety nose! (I giggled a little on discovery of safety noses!) you can get basic triangular shapes like this or even little dog noses complete with nostril detail, they look so weird not attached to anything.

At first I was quite happy using these safety eyes and noses, as I could feel how secure they were, I tried my best to pull them off and failed, if I can't pull them off there is no way a newborn baby can!  Plus these safety eyes are an easier option, they are a nice shape and look really cute.  I must admit I prefer the look of safety eyes on my toys compared with an embroidered face.

However, I still couldn't get rid of the little niggly concerns that maybe they were not entirely safe!?  If my toy was responsible for chocking a little baby I would never ever forgive myself. Are 'safety' eyes as safe as they seem?  Yes they cannot come apart, but yarn is not that strong, the whole thing could potentially rip and come out, which can then be swallowed.  Aaaargh, I have started getting super paranoid about this now!

Please note, I have told each parent that has been given one of my toys what it is made of and informed them about the safety eyes and nose.  I do believe they are as safe as I could possibly make them.

Corey's little monkey has a simple embroidered face, this is one of the first toys I made and had not discovered safety eyes yet, his face is cute but I did un pick and re-sew it quite a few times until I was happy.

This little bear has button eyes! Are these any safer than safety eyes? I always ensure my buttons are super super secure.  I go up and through the holes on the button so many times you end up not being able to fit the needle through and then I ensure that I secure the ends of the thread behind the button.  I do this by pushing the needle underneath the stitches several times and in several directions so it cannot unravel.

This little bear was made from a babygro and the button eyes were the actual buttons from babygro also.  So surely if it is safe to put buttons as fasteners onto baby clothes it is ok for them to be on toys?

You really can get really bogged down with all of this!  But I am hoping to start selling some little crochet and crafty toys so I think it is super important to consider all of this. 

I have decided going forward that all my eyes and faces will be embroidered or use buttons.  I do not think there is anything wrong with safety eyes, but for me that niggly worry is too much to risk it.  I think however that safety eyes for a child 4+ or for an adult (adults like crochet toys too right?) is absolutely fine.

What are your thoughts on this debate?  I am really interested to hear other viewpoints.  What sort of eyes do you use on your little toy creations? 
 
 

12 comments:

  1. I've always assumed you cant use safety eyes for babies toys, im sure ive read that on some patterns, but I don't know much about children or babies so ive always played it safe.

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    1. Hi Susie, thanks for your comment. yeah agree, I am now playing it safe too. Just a bit misleading I guess as they are called 'safety eyes' plus the patterns I am currently working from all use them and don't mention anything about not suitable for babies. Will have to practice my embroidery skills!

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  2. Hi Jo, I'm a mom and grandmother and have crocheted quite a few friends for babies over the years. I always embroider on eyes and noses. Like you I don't really trust the safety eyes. But that being said, using safety eyes is a much safer option then buttons. Safety eyes were developed because of the chocking hazard of button eyes. Babies and toddlers put EVERYTHING they touch into their mouths. It's one of their ways of exploring the world. They suck on things and chew on everything when they are teething. No matter how well a button is sewn, it can still come off. Do not under estimate what a small child can do. I don't mean to scare you or cause you to be paranoid so please, for your own peace of mind, embroider on your eyes and noses. Lisa S.

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    1. Hi Lisa, thanks so much for your comment. You are right, thanks so much for the advice. I have now embroidered eyes on to a toy I would normally have used buttons after your comment. I guess I thought babygros have buttons sewn on the toys it is ok? But if I don't want to use safety eyes then the same must go for buttons. I think I will stick by my 4+ plan, any kids under this age I will embroider. Thanks so much again. x

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  3. Don't worry Jo you're not alone. I've been curious about this same product. I add a strong disclaimer to my Etsy shop (Sweet Little Matroyshkas) under each Amigurumi listing, that the items using Saftey Eyes are not suitable for babies or little chewers, essentially anyone under the age of 4. The name of "saftey eyes" is very misleading and while those little buggers (the washers) are NEVER coming off when me a 30 year old gal tries to remove it, the power of little chewing babies is unmatched, it's like some kind of sorcery. So as cute as those plastic pieces are, I agree with all above, embroidering details for wee ones is the absolute way to go.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment Katy. Totally agree with your comments and great idea to have a disclaimer on your Etsy shop. I've not made a toy with safety eyes since this post (i'm too scared now!) but would never consider them for a baby, so risky! x

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  4. Just came across this blogpost, I guess a couple of years later :-) However, still relevant. Jo, I just wonder what conclusion you ended up with? Are 'safety eyes' safe enough for crochet and CE-marking?

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    1. Hi Irene, thanks for your comment. I always now just embroider my faces. I only use safety eyes for toys that I know are going to an older child 4+.

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  5. I've also wondered if my embroidered eyes could get chewed off and the kid choke on the yarn? Anyone have thoughts on that?

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    1. I guess anything can potentially be chewed by a baby, you are correct! But I think getting bogged down in it is just going to stop everyone giving anything to children. I think a lot of emphasis has to be out on parental supervision. Hopefully certain toys will only be played with whilst supervised.

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  6. I've sold two blankeys for babies with safety eyes, thinking they were totally safe, now I'm extremely worried, I don't have the contact info of the buyers, what should I do?

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    1. Hi Julie. This is simply my opinion, obviously no expert but I would not worry! I think it would be extremely rare that any eyes would come off! For your own piece of mind maybe switch to embroidering eyes? Or at least including a piece of paper/ label with your items you sell saying not suitable for under 4, and adult supervision etc. I do think parents hold the responsibility for supervising what their child plays with. Happy crafting! X

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Thank you so much for your comment, I read each and every one, and they mean a lot to me. I do always try my best to reply.

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