Are 3D Printed Items Kids And Baby Safe? Potential Hazards And What Not To Do!


One of the privileges of being able to 3D print almost everything is to make personalized 3D Printing objects for loved ones. 3D printing makes printing toys for your kids at home like a dream come true.

But, at the same time, it makes the parents uneasy and raises the question in their minds, is it safe?

So, are 3D Printed Items Kids And Baby Safe? 3D printed items are safe for kids and babies if produced properly. The safety of a 3d printed items depends on the toxicity of the material used, the design, and the strength of the final product. There is a range of 3D Filaments used to print 3D objects, however, PLA and ABS are found to be the safest options. Furthermore, materials and designs that produce objects with sharp edges and expose toxic emissions could impose a risk to kids and are highly discouraged.

We highly recommend that you check out our post “Is PLA Filament Safe? Skin Contact, Flammability, Emissions & ABS Comparison!

3D Printing Is Here To Stay

Also, Toys made with 3D printing are not appropriate for children under the age of three. They’ll be putting them in their mouths, and pieces are prone to breaking. For instance, SLA prints are not kids’ safe. However, you should avoid making any pieces that are too small or fragile, as kids can break them.

You can use almost any kind of 3D printer to print your kids’ 3D toys. However, only uses food-safe filament materials as almost every baby puts toys in his mouth.

Check out the article we wrote about the Minimum child age to use 3D Printer: Risks, what not to do, and suggestions.

We will discuss further the Safety of 3D Printing materials and objects, Health and safety concerns related to 3D Printing objects, and kids-friendly Filaments.

What Makes The 3D Printed Object Kids Safe Or Not ?

The Filement Material Used

In 3D printing, there are several varieties of thermoplastic materials and other materials such as ceramics and metal. Some printers may also use food-safe material used to print kids’ safe objects, like chocolate.

During or after the printing process, the edible materials come with several hygiene recommendations, but the others can be harmful.

PLA and ABS are the most commonly used materials in 3D printing. Both are regarded as safe. But, PLA is a non-toxic organic compound with no hazardous compounds. It’s also called food-safe, so feeding babies with a 3D printed PLA spoon or bowl would be safe in theory, however, many raise the concern of reusing these items as some food particles may get stuck as cause them to grow bacteria that could be harmful to people and kids alike.

ABS is also a stable and considered food-grade plastic safe and non-toxic substance in its solid state. In other words, it could be used as normal plastic which kids usually interact with (Source)

We also highly recommend that you check out our post “Do 3D Printers Need To Be Vented? What Every Owner Must Know!

After all, this is the stuff that LEGOs are made of. When the plastic is heated, though, the condition changes, the thermoplastic filament melts during the printing phase.

When plastics are heated (usually at around 200 degrees celsius ), they release a variety of particles that can be harmful to adults and young children. However, not all plastics are considered equal.

PLA, for example, is biodegradable and does not emit a toxic substance while printing if used properly. Check out How Much Carbon Monoxide Does 3D Printing Emit? Here Is What You Should Do About it!

PLA, in reality, is safe to consume even if it is swallowed by mistake.

ABS, on the other hand, contains various oils that emit poisonous fumes if heated, and unlike PLA, it should not be consumed. (Source)

Although both filament materials are harmful when consumed or inhaled when heated, one should avoid making their kids eat any plastic items in general and keep them away from the 3d printer when it’s in the process of printing.

The Design Of The The Printed Object

Some printed objects may appear harmless at first glance, but they may be hazardous to infants. Some can cut if treated incorrectly based on the design, while others are small enough to be swallowed and pose a choking hazard.

Objects not intended for harm still pose a risk like choking, pinching, or cutting, so the design of products must be considered carefully.

Take note of tiny plastic toys that come with a choking hazard mark or age restrictions. Whether 3d printed or not, parents must always make sure kids’ toy designs do not pose any threat to them. Sharp-edged items and small pieces are by default dangerous to give to kids to play with.

Read to find out more about the poisonous effects of 3D printing.


What are the Kids Friendly 3D printing Filaments?

3D printing filaments are special plastic forms known as thermoplastics. These thermoplastics melt when heated so they can be shaped, solidified, and molded when cold. Thermoplastics are versatile when heated at the right temperature.

This flexibility lets the printer carve the filament into its shapes until it cools down. (Source)

There are multiple types of 3D Filaments used to print out 3d objects for kids. Some of the most common kids’ friendly filaments are as follows:

PLA

Plastic-like ABS or PLA is more commonly used in home 3D printing. ABS is the plastic used to make LEGO bricks. PLA is a non-toxic, bioplastic. When used for printing 3D objects for kids, both are considered kids safe.

Here is our selected quality PLA filament to use (Amazon Link)

Here is an article to shed light on how long it takes to 3D print an object either at home. 

ABS

ABS means acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and it provides a great option to 3D print moving components, musical instruments, and toys such as LEGO. It has a high melting point to print on a heated surface or bed.

Printing also causes uncomfortable vaping, which can irritate some people. Good ventilation is necessary. Combined with these items, ABS is a material that professional rather than amateur user favorites.

Here is our selected quality ABS filament to use (Amazon Link)

HIPS

3D prints are supported in other filaments as the most basic functionality for HIPS. HIPS means high-impact polystyrene, and it is very similar to the ABS 3D printing filament. It is known to be lightweight and moderately priced.

HIPS 3D printing filaments are a great choice to print kids’ toys of any kind. Apart from 3D printers, other industries use HIPS because they can handle it to fit their needs with solid, slit plastic. It is commonly used for packaging by the food industry.

Here is our selected quality HIPS filament to use (Amazon Link)

TPE

Far more robust of all the printer materials is TPE 3D printer filament. The thermoplastic elastomers, or TPE for short, make it “incredibly stretchy.” It does have a high modulus of elasticity that it feels like natural rubber and springs back into form as quickly as an elastic band.

So it is useful in printing 3D objects without any sharp edges. TPE is a go-to choice in developing toys for kids, prone to put everything in their mouths.

TPE filament has a wide range of applications and industries that benefit from it. It can be used in household appliances as well as the automotive industry. It’s a common 3D material for children’s toys, wearable, and smartphone cases, among other things.

Here is our selected quality TPE filament to use (Amazon Link)

Glow in the Dark Filament

Many of the applications for this amusing material are based on the user’s imagination. It’s well-known for novelty products such as children’s toys, wearable technology, personalized phone cases, and a variety of other items. It’s also a perfect forum for artistic projects for certain talented artists.

Another more realistic use is for light switches, which are easier to locate in the dark.

Here is our selected quality Glow in the Dark Filament to use (Amazon Link)

HATCHBOX PLA

HATCHBOX PLA is a popular option and can be used as a PLA filament, even though it has a lesser melting temperature for small household 3D prints or displays. The printer may also maintain the vibrancy of the color. It is used to make brilliant 3D artifacts for your kids at home.

Here is our selected quality Hatchbox PLA filament to use (Amazon Link)

Three-dimensional printers can work with a variety of materials. Extruders for 3D printers that can print with play dough, Plasticine, and modeling clay are also available.

All such substances have their age guidance; for example, the PlayDoh brand states that it is appropriate for children as young as two years old. (Source)

3D Printing filaments their temperature and strength

You also do not want to use a Material/Filament that easily breaks.

A toy that shatters easily in kids’ hands could lead to injuries. Here is a simplified table of types of filament and their strengths to help you out pick the right material to use in printing the next toy for your kid

FilamentsPrint TemperatureStrength
PLA180-230Medium
ABS210-250Medium
Nylon220-260High
TPE225-235Low
HIPS 210-250Low
TPU225-235Low
Glow in The Dark215Medium
nGen210-240Medium
PORO- LAY220-235Low
PLA Blend195-220Medium
Different Types of 3D Printing Filaments and Their Strengths

Best Filament for Kids-PLA:

PLA is the best 3D printing filament. PLA is adequately strong for toys and is mainly made from starch (corn) which makes it non-toxic.

PLA is a natural material made chiefly from cornstarch or sugar cane. It also prints at a lower temperature than ABS, so the fumes produced are less toxic. However, you can take some preventive measures to keep your kids safe.

Here is our selected quality Hatchbox PLA filament to use (Amazon Link)

When it comes to printing toys for kids, PLA is the way to go.

Sad to say, keep your kids secure around with a 3D model entails more than just selecting the appropriate printing content. When 3D printers are heated, they emit gases. It would be best if you thought about how dangerous the printing material is at last.

Read more to find out if PLA Have A Shelf Life? How long & How To Store It for A longer Shelf Life!

Potential Hazardous for Kids with 3D Printing Filaments:

  • When 3D printer filament is melted at very high temperatures, it becomes poisonous, but the lower the temperature, the less toxic the 3D printer filament becomes. (Source)
  • 3d printing technologies can emit toxic emissions that are harmful to humans, including kids under the age of nine being particularly vulnerable. (Source)
  • All filaments are not suitable to print toys as they expose toxic material, which is harmful to kids and may pose choking hazards.

Safety Tips:

  • Seek guidance from the Printer Materials Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (Source)
  • Get proper training for safely printing the 3D objects
  • Monitor the kids to keep them away from putting the objects in their mouth
  • Print Toys with soft edges
  • Use a well-ventilated environment for 3D printers
  • Utilize the kid-safe Filaments
  • Use eye safety to scatter liquid materials
  • For print content spills, use solvent-absorbing pads
  • Keep models and materials away from areas for storing, preparing, or consuming food and drink. For more on this, check out our post Can You Drink Out Of A 3D Printed Cup? What You Must Know!
  • To avoid warping while 3D printing with ABS or PLA filaments, a heating bed is recommended.

sherifjallad

I am a very well experienced techie civil engineer who's extensively interested in 3D printing technology and even more captivated by the potential of 3D printing livable structures

Recent Posts