If you're able to buy your kids whatever crayons, paints, toys, etc you want to, I am soooooooo happy for you! For many of us, it can be a nightmare. Having to call or email companies to find out if a certain type of tape has latex, if their putty has gluten or wheat, if their crayons have been handled by someone wearing latex gloves, etc.
For instance, you're at home, wrapping a present for your daughter's birthday--your daughter who is deathly allergic to latex. Then you run out of tape. You need to go to the store anyway, so you head out to get some. Once at the store in front of the tape, you realize that you forgot to write down the brand you bought last time--the one brand that you already found out was latex-free. So you call your hubby at home and ask him what brand it was. Only, he already threw away the empty dispenser you so rudely left in the middle of the floor, took it outside, and the garbage truck has already come. You call the 1-800 numbers listed on several tape packages, and they all say they'll speak with their "whatever-it-is" department and get back with you, may they please have your name and number, they'll call you back in 5-7 business days.
So you write down several brand names and head back home tapeless, but on a mission. Once home, you get online and write e-mails to all the companies, asking if their tape is latex-free. You try to be civil, even though you feel like telling them how idiotic it is to use such a highly allergic material in anything anyway. They all write back a week later, asking for specific product names, numbers, colors, manufacturing date, and all of the other information you didn't write down from all of those packages. So you go back to the store, write down everything, head back home, and e-mail all the information in. They then write back a month later, just to tell you that all of their tapes contain latex, and they hope your pleased with their products, and they hope they can be of more service to you in the future.
Meanwhile, your daughter's birthday passed two weeks previous, and you eventually just threw the half-wrapped gift into a gift bag.
I recently heard about an awesome website, Discount School Supply. On their site, you can actually look only at products that are free of specific allergens! You can search based on gluten, dairy/casein, peanuts/treenuts, eggs, soy, and yes, latex. They even have latex-free, regulation-sized footballs, basketballs, etc. And the prices are great!!
No, they didn't ask me to advertise for them--they don't know who I am or that I'm even blogging about them. I was just excited that someone actually took the time to make it easy to find safe products without jumping through hoops. I thought this might help some of you out, too!