What is Inside a Baby Rattle?

Haven’t you wondered what’s inside your baby rattle?

I blogged about a disgusting discovery inside our baby rattles in 2005. I’m repeating the essential information here with a jumbo 2007 photo, below. Hey, it’s true what they say, everything really is bigger in the future.

Photo of a baby rattle made of colorful plastic threads, plus a photo of a rusty bottle cap and two beans, and a photo of the rattle broken open to reveal the bottle cap and beans as its contents.

A collage of three views of the rattle and its curious contents.

We purchased two rattles made of colorful woven plastic strands from an upscale women’s boutique. We were naive back then about plastic safety, and about the capability of a rattle to leach chemicals after a simple rinsing with water (think rust).

When my daughter outgrew the rattles, I took scissors to them to recycle the bells that I was sure lay inside. Oops, wrong guess. Try two beans and a rusty bottle cap from a drink made in Mexico. The rattles had no labels or packaging, no brand name.

Fast forward to yesterday. A friend gave us some of her old infant stuff for our pending baby that was a bit hit-and-miss. Four baby rattles were included that we wouldn’t even give away because they were disgustingly soiled or made from unidentified plastic.

Oh goody, time to whip out a hammer and scissors.

These specimens revealed probably what you expect rattles to contain – plastic containers filled with metal balls or bells. Still, for your own edification, here are the photos…

Photo of a small plush rainbow colored rattle worm and a photo of the worm's last segment cut open to reveal a plastic chamber filled with four metal balls.

This Gund Tinkle Crinkle Rattle Squeak Worm has seen better days. I removed its last segment to reveal four metal balls in a plastic container sewn into a square piece of fabric and stuffed in amid polyfill. The chamber appeared water-tight.

Photo of a bunny head wrist rattle and an oval plastic chamber cracked open to reveal a standard metal bell.

This oversized wrist rattle contained a sealed plastic chamber containing a regular metal bell. The chamber contained air holes that were taped over, I guess to make the chamber waterproof in a cursory sort of way.

Photo of a plastic cat-themed rattle and a second photo with the cat broken open to reveal a plastic ring inside.

This plastic rattle contained a plastic ring.

Photo of a plush clown rattle, with a photo of the clown sliced open and a close-up photo of a plastic chamber containing three small metal balls. The clown's eyes make him look asleep or drunk or dead.

This clown’s eyes makes him look blotto, or dead… most certainly dead after I sliced his chest and removed his sealed plastic container filled with three small metal balls. The chamber appeared water-tight.

Update: To clarify why our friend would give us disgusting toys… we told her we are planning to have a garage sale (which may or may not happen because they’re a pain-in-the-ass to hold versus just donating your stuff to a nonprofit).

A few days later, the friend spontaneously gave us several plastic bags full of toys that I infer had been sitting in a garage for some time. The message was, take what you want, sell the rest and keep the money, she just wanted them out of her house. Uhh, yeah. In any case, if she was purely intending to give us baby gifts, I know she would have cleaned everything (though still probably not have given us these rattles).


11 Responses to “What is Inside a Baby Rattle?”

  1. Divrchk says:

    I’d feel guilty giving those toys to Goodwill let alone a friend! That is very strange that she gave you dirty, old disgusting toys.

    August 29th, 2007 at 5:34 am

  2. brettdl says:

    Yeah, I’ve heard similar tales of rattles filled with odd objects.

    August 29th, 2007 at 5:48 am

  3. AJ says:

    Divrchk, thanks, I’ve appended a clarification above explaining why a friend would give us disgusting toys.

    August 29th, 2007 at 9:07 am

  4. Divrchk says:

    Thanks for the clarification :-) I hope that I didn’t offend!

    August 29th, 2007 at 11:09 am

  5. Jessica G. says:

    I am laughing. It must be so satisfying to slice and dice open these old toys! Even better to document it. I am one of those people that always wants to cut open the bean bag toy or those “stress reliever” balls. I am currently eyeballing my daughter’s cat from the build-a-bear factory — the meowing mechanism has gotta go…

    August 30th, 2007 at 1:42 pm

  6. Jenna Glatzer says:

    I can’t believe that first rattle with the beans and bottlecap! Egads! Must have been fun to do autopsies on the others, though. :)

    September 1st, 2007 at 7:02 pm

  7. CJ says:

    That is really good info…but what should be in a rattle? What does Tiffanys put inside of theirs…does anyone know?

    December 10th, 2007 at 4:11 pm

  8. Zippydoodah says:

    Wow, I never thought that such weird things could be in rattles!
    I wonder if this could be common to all unbranded toys…

    March 18th, 2008 at 9:56 am

  9. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Why is it so important that it be waterproof?

    The outsides of the toys are disgusting, but I don’t see any of the stuff inside as bad at all. Am I missing something?

    March 18th, 2008 at 4:01 pm

  10. AJ says:

    Waterproofing isn’t important if you don’t mind the possibility of your child sucking on an object that could leach rust, dirty water or mold.

    March 18th, 2008 at 4:08 pm

  11. Ariel says:

    We were given the plastic woven rattle and our 4 month old had just gotten really into it. We thought we should try to trace its origins (more for lead concerns) and I’m so glad we found this post. A few seconds and a pair of scissors later we had similar results–although (improvement?) in 2008 it’s 3 beans and “Superior” brand cerveza.

    September 3rd, 2008 at 3:28 pm