Are buttons a baby-safe substitute for craft eyes?

You’ve probably read the disclaimer: craft eyes are not recommended for use in toys for children under the age of three.

plastic animal craft eyes from FreshStitches

I’m often asked, “can I use buttons instead”?

In short, the answer is no.

freshstitches buttons

To explain why, let’s talk about why craft eyes aren’t baby safe. It’s incredibly unlikely that the washer will accidentally come off of the back of the eye. (in fact, it’s pretty difficult to remove the washer from an eye with plastic ridges, as I showed in this blog post on how to remove craft eyes.)

The danger with craft eyes is that a baby (or dog) could chew through the fabric that the eye is attached to, dislodging the eye.

Now what about buttons? Many people assume that since they’re sewn on, they’re more secure. But it’s not true. A baby can use their set of chompers to chew through the thread attaching it to the piece.

Baby-safe eyes

For a completely baby-safe eye, you’ll want to crochet the eye (follow these directions for a crocheted eye) or sew on a felt eye.

amigurumi crochet owl kit by FreshStitches

Crocheted eyes look fabulous!

To be on the safe side, you’ll want to watch your little one whenever they’re with buttons. Just the other day, I saw Maddie chewing on the button on her sweater. Oops. Not safe!


  1. Cindy SAYS...

    I normally make my eyes by needle felting them. Do you think that’s ok?

    • Needle felting, as long as it is securely fastened to the head, should be fine! It’s a lot like a crocheted eye 🙂

      The trick is really in the securing, so you’d want to be sure it can’t be pulled off!

  2. Ida SAYS...

    I actually had one of the plastic eyes with ridges pop out of one of my toys. It was my sons favorite teddy bear. He was holding it, and I noticed that the eye wasn’t in the right spot. He tried putting it back on the toy himself after it popped out (aww).

    I took the head off the toy to give the bear a new eye. I fished out the old washer, and found the washer had snapped in half!

    I always thought it was an issue of kids chewing the eyes out, as you mentioned, but there are plenty of ways those eyes can come out of toys.

    • Oh, my goodness! Yes, I can see how if the washer breaks, that would happen!

      I think your story illustrates that almost anything can happen! We have to be very careful! Thanks for sharing, Ida.