Whether you are purchasing a handmade softie or making one yourself, choosing the right type of toy fill is very important.
You need to ask yourself:
- What age is the child? Are they under the age of three and need a filling that is not a choking hazard?
- Does the product need to be heated?
- Is the product hypoallergenic for a child with allergies?
- Will the product retain its shape?
- Does the filling have a high flame retardant rating?
There are lots of different options available so lets run through a few of the more commonly used:
- Polyester (poly fill) – is by far the most popular and inexpensive. Poly fill is a man-made synthetic fibre that is very light weight and washable. It’s readily available at most haby stores.
- Eco Friendly – I’m very happy to say that these options are increasing and becoming more popular. The biggest negative is their price as they are much more expensive than poly fill.
- Corn fibre – is hypo-allergenic, very light weight and has a high flame retardant quality. Also washable.
- Cotton & Wool are other natural options, however wool can lose its shape more than the others.
- Bamboo is another option but it is flammable unless treated.
- Natural products – wheat/rice are very popular but not suitable for children under three. These fillings can’t be washed but wheat can be infused with essential oils and heated.
- Julie from Moops and Hoops tells why she uses wheat in her HEATmee bags. “Wheat has great insulation qualities due to its cellular structure which means it can absorb heat evenly. It then distributes this stored heat gradually and effectively. Which is why it is a great filler for my HEATmee range as they are heated in the microwave.”.
- Poly Pellets – can be made a many different synthetic materials such as rubber, plastic or glass and can give weight to toys. They can be a hazard to small children if the stitching to the toy becomes undone.
- Recycled – using scraps of fabric is a fun and eco-friendly option for filling toys. While it may not have the softness of a corn or poly fill, its cheap and great for the environment.