Are plush animals safe for children

New test from Stiftung Warentest : Your children can cuddle with these plush toys

Good news for parents, grandparents and godparents: If you want to give children cuddly toys for Christmas that have been awarded a “very good” quality rating by Stiftung Warentest, you can even use Rossmann or dm - for little money. The Babydream plush dog from Rossmann costs just 4.70 euros, and the “Pusblu Dino blau” from dm costs 5.95 euros. Both toys passed all of the testers' tests without any problems. They are safe, free of harmful substances and suitable for giving away, as the consumer advocates found out in their new toy test. The testers also recommend nine other toys as suitable Christmas gifts.

The cuddly toys have gotten better

The examiners put a total of 22 plush toys and figures under the microscope. It was not loving. The toys had to endure 300 mechanical and physical tests, and hundreds of material samples were examined for harmful substances. The cuddly toys were set on fire and cut open.

The result lets you breathe a sigh of relief: "The safety of soft toys has improved compared to the previous test," wrote the testers in the December issue of "Test" magazine. Five years ago, consumer advocates found the carcinogenic substance chrysene in 43 percent of the plush toys. "The large fabric and plush surfaces were mostly fine this time," it says now. Nevertheless, Stiftung Warentest only recommends half of the toys it has tested.

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These toys are flawed

The pitfalls are often in the details. For example, the shoe of the rag doll Elsa from Disney (“The Ice Queen”) contains a harmful flame retardant which leads to the judgment “poor”. Disney is now recalling the dolls (25.90 euros) and reimbursing customers for their money. The dangling animals by Käthe Kruse (Pino rabbit, 33.50 euros) and Senger (bear, 50 euros) failed because of their too thin packaging bags and the associated risk of suffocation for children. The manufacturer Toynamics Europe has drawn conclusions and is now using stronger material.

Kösen also fails

The quality manufacturer Kösen also failed the test. In the opinion of the testers, the leash of the Jack Russell plush terrier (61.50 euros) was so long that children could strangle themselves with it and it also gave off carcinogenic nitrosamines. The examiners also found carcinogenic formaldehyde in the ear of Terrier "Rusty". Kösen, also known as the “Steiff of the East”, has reacted: The leash has been removed, the textile in the ear has been replaced. Customers receive compensation when the leash is returned.

The test shows: the problems are often in accessories or additional materials. Sometimes even small parts that could be swallowed can come loose. The toy animal Mabel von Sterntaler (15 euros) received a poor grade because the Sterntaler label contains naphthalene, which is suspected of being cancerous. Sterntaler still considers the toy to be unproblematic, but will refund customers their money on request.

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On the other hand, the test of the Siamese cuddly cat by Teddy Hermann (32 euros) turned out to be spectacular: The animal went up in flames after the testers briefly held the burner to the fur. The flame climbed the cat's back so quickly that consumer advocates let the toy fail. Teddy Hermann emphasizes that no abnormalities were found during exams. Until the final clarification, the kitten should no longer be sold, here too, consumers will get their money back if they want to.

What consumers can do

The Stiftung Warentest advises those who do not want to bother sending the toy back can often resort to self-help: cut off labels, dispose of packaging bags, remove linen that is too long, and the formaldehyde content can be minimized by washing.

These cuddly toys are recommended

But if you only want to go shopping now, you should buy one of the cuddly toys recommended by the testers. In addition to the soft toys from drugstore dm and Rossmann, the worry eater “Ping” by Schmidt Spiele (16.80 euros) also scored “very good”. Good cuddly toys come from Ikea (orangutan "Djungelskog", 13 euros), Kik (bear, eight euros), Steiff (Hoppel rabbit, 39.50 euros), WWF (emperor penguin, 17.90 euros), Spiegelburg (grudge troll, 25 euros), Nici (black horse, 16 euros) and Sigikid (lion Silvio Savanne, 25 euros). Also on the recommendation list with a satisfactory verdict is the Smiki Lama from Spiele Max (12.30 euros).

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