Stuffed animals always make wonderful gifts for little ones. More often than not, it doesn’t matter what they look like, as long as they’re soft and snuggly, and fit just right under a child’s arm. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, a stuffed animal might make the perfect lovey for your little lovey. But how do you choose a safe and healthy alternative out of the gazillions of stuffed animals stocked on store shelves?

For safety’s sake, look for plush toys that do not have small pieces such as beads, sequins, or buttons for decoration that can fall off and end up in a baby’s mouth. And avoid stuffed animals that are filled with beads or beans that a baby could choke on if the toy broke open.

Natural toys, like stuffed animals, are great for boosting a child's creativity and sparking imagination. You can find all-natural, organic stuffed animals from sites such as Gaiam or Pristine Planet. Or browse through one of the many cuddly, green, handmade stuffed animals from Eco-Artware that are made from clean, recycled fabric.   

Just one squeeze and your child will have a new friend for life!