I started designing and producing baby toys while I was on maternity leave with our second child. My husband had managed to drop our car keys down a drain in Pisa airport, never to be seen again - keys not husband, although at the time........
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A few weeks later, back home in Scotland, the remaining set with house keys on the same fob, mysteriously vanished, resulting in a house turned upside down and some costly replacements. The chief suspect was Hamish, then 8 months old, who was fixated with shiny, jingly keys, just as his sister had been.
I knew it wasn't safe to let babies play with keys as they can contain lead, carry an impaction risk into the soft palate and are often quite dirty, but Hamish must have got hold of them, perhaps with some aiding and abetting from big sister Rebecca. As he is also an apprentice postman the pedal bin was their most likely destination.
I tried to channel Hamish's key love into the plastic keys aimed at his age range, but like his sister had previously done, he soon lost interest in them. I tried to find metal toy keys and discovered that there were none available on the UK market - and so the seed was sown - design my own and Yummikeys was born. These were the first stainless steel and silicone baby toys designed globally and also the first stainless steel teething rings worldwide and all designs have been protected.
Yummi toys are made from 100% stainless steel, chemically inert, lead-free and free from phthalates and cadmium.
Stainless steel is safe for cutlery which is in and out of our mouths from cradle to grave. So I knew it would be a safe material to use for babies.
My mother, who has worked in early education all her life, has frequently complained about the predictable monotony of mainstream toys - the same colour palette, texture, density, smell and noise. She has encouraged me in my enterprise to create something different.
I design all our toys myself.
At times this proves more challenging than I had anticipated, as they have to be adapted to comply with European safety standards. Everything has to be rigorously tested by a UKAS accredited third party laboratory - the keys, keyring, labelling and packaging which all takes time but is absolutely essential.
I often wake in the night with new ideas and solutions to problems. My extended family and friends have provided me with feedback as have a steady stream of junior testers, who have loved the product. With their help the keys have been sucked, bitten, chewed, dropped, painted, bathed, buried in sand/mud and they've even been for a swim at the East Lothian seaside. You'll be pleased to know that all Yummi toys can go through the dishwasher too!
All our toys are engraved in the Scottish Highlands by a small business who have supported us from Day 1.
I'm delighted to have produced our range of toys and I am constantly adding to it, and I sincerely hope that your children enjoy them as much as my son, and now his younger brother do.
These are for you Hamish and others like you. May you jingle jangle to your hearts' content.