PVC-free Ball Pits Balls for Safe Playtime

We finally tracked down a couple of PVC-free ball manufacturers after running into way too many toxic brands.  So many companies responded to our inquiries in the same way, “All of our play pit balls are made with non-toxic, phthalate-free PVC.”  Ummmm, right . . .

Not only are many of the balls made from PVC, but all inflatable ball pit toys we researched are made from PVC too.  Our kids are seriously surrounded by it!

Today at the last minute before publishing our guide, we found a gold mine!  We confirmed that Tinker Tots.com carries only PVC-free ball pit balls!  And to top it off, they take care of the secondary worry by offering many non-inflatable ball pits too.  Now that's our kind of store 🙂

PVC-free Ball Pits and Balls

TinkerTots.com has several tent-like ball pits like this one, which is the Playhut Magic Ball Zone.  The tent is made from polyester with nylon bindings, mesh, polyethylene floor and comes with 100 3″ polyethylene balls.  They also sell Crush Proof Commercial Color Balls and Commercial Clear Balls separately.

We spoke the makers of the Giga Tent Ball Pit Playhouse and confirmed that the tent itself is made with durable polyester walls and a polyethylene floor and it comes with 36 polyethylene balls.  You can purchase it from MyChildPlayhouses.com.

BallPoolBalls.com sells 3″ balls made from polyethylene in many different colors and quantities.

As always, we'll continue to add more safe alternatives as we locate them.

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21 Responses to PVC-free Ball Pits Balls for Safe Playtime

  1. bluenude3 January 29, 2010 at 11:53 pm #

    Thank you, thank you!

  2. Alicia
    Alicia January 29, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    You're very, very welcome, Simone!

  3. Cathy January 30, 2010 at 12:26 am #

    can you confirm that all Playhut brand play tents and balls are made with the same material as the one you mentioned above?

  4. Alicia
    Alicia January 30, 2010 at 12:33 am #

    No, we didn't confirm that all of the Playhut brand tents are PVC-free, but it's very common for non-inflatable tent toys to be PVC-free.

    TinkerTots.com carries many different styles of Playhut tents, so you can check their listings to see what each one is made from.

    http://search.store.yahoo.net/cgi-bin/nsearch?c

  5. amievetter January 30, 2010 at 1:43 am #

    I found these ball pit balls on Amazon.com that claim to be Phthalate free by Intex
    http://www.amazon.com/Intex-Phthalate-Free-Vers
    Do you know anything about these?

    They also have Phthalate free bouncers for the balls
    http://www.amazon.com/Intex-Phthalate-Jump-O-Le

  6. Katharine January 30, 2010 at 3:14 am #

    Thank you! Filing this away… You motivated me to start looking into those outdoor plastic houses – I'll be sending that question to you soon!

  7. Alicia
    Alicia January 30, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    Hi amievetter – we checked out several products that were specifically labeled as phthalate-free and every one of them was been made from PVC. It may still be worth your while to call the manufacturer and double check though.

  8. Alicia
    Alicia January 30, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    Hi Katharine – glad to help! We've begun checking into the outdoor playhouses and as long as they're made from hard plastic, they are mostly made from polypropylene (like the Little Tikes products). It was a nice surprise to find a group of products that are generally safe!

  9. Michael January 30, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

    Hi – We actually bought some of these Intex Phthalate free balls for our daughter to use in our Graco pack-in-play.

    Can someone help me fully understand the safety of these balls. Is the concern with PVC primarily an environmental one associated with its manufacture/disposal , or are there some concerns with their use as well?

    Obviously, we're concerned about the environment and the prevalence of PVC's, but the most pressing question for us right now is can our daughter safely play with these pit balls or not?

  10. Alicia
    Alicia January 31, 2010 at 1:35 am #

    Hi Michael – we recommend against using PVC for children's products because it is inherently toxic. For example lead is often used as a stabilizer and a due to its chlorinated makeup, the entire life cycle of vinyl is responsible for the formation of more dioxin (a known carcinogen) than any other single product (http://earth911.com/plastic/pvc/benefits-of-rec…). PVC is also known to harbor various other volatile organic compounds (http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html).

    While we understand that PVC is everywhere, we recommend avoiding it whenever possible. We were thrilled to find alternatives to PVC balls for parents who haven't already invested in a ball pit.

  11. Jenny Wu February 8, 2010 at 2:44 am #

    Hi – Are you sure TinkerTots.com only carries PVC-free ball pit balls? I am a little confused because one reviewer on amazon.com mentioned that the Playhut 100 pack balls are made of PVC. And, many reviewers commented that the quality of 100 pack balls is cheaper than the original balls that come with the ball pit. When I checked the info on tinkertots.com, these are the info:

    The balls for the Playhut Magic Ball Zone:
    100 3″ non-toxic polyethelene balls

    The Playhut 100 Magic Balls Pack:
    I100-3″ diameter plastic balls

    I bought the Playhut Magic Ball Zone, but I can't decide whether to buy the extra 100 balls from Playhut because of the possibility of PVC material. Please share your knowledge with me. Thanks

  12. Alicia
    Alicia February 8, 2010 at 3:28 am #

    Hi Jenny – as mentioned above, we spoke with TinkerTots directly to confirm that they carry only PVC-free balls, so that's all the info we have for you. If you're still uncomfortable that TinkerTots has mislabeled their product listing and given us incorrect info, you may want to contact the manufacturer of Playhut products directly to confirm. You can find their contact info on their website at http://www.playhut.com/custServ.html

  13. Ball Pit Toys April 11, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    Thank for recommend. What different between PVC-free BPA-free?

  14. Victoria June 21, 2010 at 2:02 am #

    sorry my post is so late, but does anyone know if the flame retardant fabric is treated with a flame retardant or just the type of fabric is flame retardant by nature?

  15. Lisa June 22, 2010 at 2:33 am #

    I contacted Playhut about the play balls they make. Here is the response I received.

    Hi Lisa,

    I apologize for not responding sooner, but the balls we use are made of polypropylene and have been tested to surpass government requirements for phathalates. Although we don’t use PVC, the material itself is not harmful as long as it was produced correctly and can pass government regulations as well. I hope that helps answer your questions.

    Regards,

    John

  16. Sara September 3, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    You might want to check and see if those play tents are coated with toxic flame retardants. Many of them are…

  17. CMS January 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    How did you confirm the balls/toys were or were not PVC-free, especially if the manufacture claims they are.  Did you do tests? I’m just wondering if there is a way I can test for this type of stuff on my own at home rather than believing the manufacturer. 

  18. Nicole Manning February 16, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Thank you for this info! I’ve been scouring the internet for this info for the last 45 minutes… Should have come here first!

  19. Beth December 6, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    I have contacted Step2 about their Play Ball set, and they confirmed that they were made of Low Density Polyethylene. I’m letting my son continue to use them.

  20. Victoria August 3, 2013 at 3:28 am #

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q. Are Funballs made with a hole in them, which would allow water and other liquids to accumulate inside?

    A. No, although hollow plastic products usually have a hole through which air is injected to form the product, Funballs’ unique blow molding process does not require a hole to create positive internal pressure.

    Q. Can Funballs harm children?

    A. We know of no way Funballs represent a hazard to children. They are molded of nontoxic materials and come flash free with smooth parting lines and no sharp edges to scratch or cut tender skin. The plastic is polyethylene – the same plastic that most milk bottles are made of. COLOR PIGMENTS are LEAD FREE and most are FDA approved. Independent laboratory tests certify Funballs far exceed the requirements of CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT of 2008, and ASTM F963-7 regarding hazardous metals.

    Q. Do Funballs fade if left in the sun?

    A. Generally no, but after years of exposure minor fading may be observed. Funballs are made with UV and antioxidant additives to protect against fading and cracking. Thus, they are designed for indoor and outdoor use.

    Q. How quickly will I receive my order for Funballs?

    A. Normally, we ship within 72 hours after receipt of order. If we are temporarily out of a particular color or if you have ordered a custom color, it will take a few days longer.

    Q. How often should I clean my Funballs?

    A. Whenever they become soiled. Some play facilities clean on a weekly or monthly basis, others who really care about the health and safety of children clean daily. This is easy and hassle free with a quality ball washing machine, such as theHyGenie, manufactured by Intertech Corporation.

    Q. How many balls do I need to fill my ball pit?

    A. Each case of 500 balls is 7 cubic feet. So first determine how many cubic feet you want to fill with balls by measuring the inside length and width of your ballpool to determine the square feet then multiply by depth to determine cubic feet.

    The formula is: Length (L) x Width (W) x Depth (D) = Cubic volume, then divide by 7 to determine the number of 500 ball cases you need.

    Example: 8’ (L) x 8’ (W) x 2’ (D) = 128 cubic feet of volume then divide by 7(cu. ft. of balls in a case of 500) the answer is 18.29. Thus, you will need 18 or 19 cases to fill your ballpool 2 feet deep with balls. Contact us if you need assistance.

    Q. Do you ship Funballs overseas?

    A. Yes, Funballs compete on quality in the overseas market. This is especially true for large quantities or when combined with other merchandise in a container.

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