1. Oh yes- and thank you for the links to the green toys… I think that is the only route I am comfortable with right now!


  2. Melissa & Doug is a wonderful company. We had one of their toys break (my son dropped it down the stairs) and they replaced it for us no problem. Their customer service is wonderful!

    That being said, there are several wonderful european toy companies (Haba, Plan), but I’m not sure if their toys are made their or in China.

    There is also the alternative of making your own – won’t work for a lot of things, but you can make musical instruments, dolls, pillows…all sorts of things if you are handy and creative.

  3. We love Mellisa & Doug, but I’ve honestly never stopped to check where the toys are made. How sad is that? Thanks for sharing this, and for the toy links.

  4. I’m all about wooden made in the USA toys. My father has just recently finished making a set of alphabet blocks for my little girl.

    Thanks for this really informative post.

  5. I’m in the process of preparing a post about this. We reviewed HABA toys a little while back and I thought it might be timely to mention them again.

    It is so tough as a parent to know what to do. You can drive yourself crazy trying to avoid every little thing, and then miss something huge.

    I try to stay educated about these recalls but there is only so much I can process–it is very helpful when we share information with each other like you just did!

  6. Great article!! Thanks for the great links too.
    I’m a huge fan of Melissa & Doug, it is so nice to hear that they asnwered back to you so fast, and that they CARE!

    I am going to boycot Mattel toys for now. There is no excuse that something like this can happen – but greed.

    My kids play with Legos and Brio-train set, girls with the Melissa & Doug food. Luckily their favorite is reading books and drawing, and I think we are just getting new craft supplies next time we are shopping for toys.

  7. I new M&D were made in China (but also knew about the non-toxic disclaimer) but since I sell it, I’m happy to hear their great and quick response to your comment. Phew, now I don’t have to pack up all Cricket’s toys or feel like I sold my soul to the devil for selling it :)

    Great links, bookmarking now!

  8. The one thing that we can be thankful for is that THIS situation will likely never happen again. Companies like Mattel would not sign off on using lead in paint. It was not some CEO saying yes that is the way to make a better profit margin, poison children. Obviously, the checks and balances where not being followed as closely as they could have been, but they will be now. Mattel will probably have the safest toys from now on. No one wants to place their children at risk and all of us strive to do the best we can. It definitely adds to the buy local argument.

  9. Oh, I love the Melissa and Doug stuff. I am happy to see that they test regularly…and I am off to check out the other links.

  10. Wonderfully informative post! I got the M&D wooden food for the kids and glad to hear it is okay! Yay!

  11. Good advice – I would like to buy more NZ made toys but there are fewer sources unfortunately. What scares me perhaps more than the issue with toy recalls, is the amount of imported food products we have on our market that are made in or with ingredients from China. It bothers me because they apparently a high users of pesticides, herbicides and AFAIK do not use sustainable farming practices. I recently discovered that much of our pork comes from China. I can’t say that thrills me.

    I’m reading labels a lot more these days, and trying to buy local or at least Australasian.

  12. I love Melissa and Doug stuff, but I’m only partly comforted by their response. They can’t reasonably test every batch of toys, and they would need to if the manufacturing supply chain is as fluid in China as it is here. It isnt just their assembly plant, but the paint supplier, and the paint suppliers pigment provider, and on and on it goes.

    I’m taking some of the great advice here, paying closer attention to recalls, and I’m buying local. Does my 2 year old really need a Dora doll more than a hand crafted wooden train? Nope!

    Thanks for the article!

  13. I spoke with Melissa and Doug Customer Service supervisor right after the first Mattel recall, and she detailed their testing standards, however she said that nothing is 100 percent. I dont think there is a toy company that can put a 100 percent gaurantee on their toys being lead free. Retailers and Toy manufacturers, if they are committed to the safety of our children should put a guarantee on their toys…. You bet they would take it seriously with a guarantee on their box, otherwise it would leave them libel for a class action suit.

  14. I have to say that I have been searching for some type of customer service number for Melissa and Doug for the past 30 minutes on the web. I come back with all the stores that carry their toys, not a website or phone number for the actual company. I called the number listed in your response from them and got the most insane answering machine that just states that you’ve called Melissa and Doug and to leave a message. ANYWAY, sorry to blah blah blah. I have a wooden block set and the paint has chipped off of two pieces so far. It’s the shape sorter blocks. I would like to contact the company regarding this because I believe that my son has ingested the missing paint chips. He likes to chew on them. Any ideas?

  15. I also emailed Melissa & Doug regarding the safety of their toys and got the same response as Amy. So sad to say it is an automated response. Does not make me want to buy their toys..

  16. There is another great source here in Vermont for natural toys made responsibly. The company is called Nova Naturals and I believe the web address is http://www.novanaturals.com. They have great stuff, none of it made in China. We’ve been really happy with everything we’ve ordered.

  17. I feel very uncomfortable buying ANY toys made in China from now on. How can a company assure me that they are testing? How can a company have any kind of quality control when the production is in another country. I don’t believe them, and that includes Melissa & Doug. It has saddened me to learn they are producing their toys in China as well, especially the “food” toys. Little children will always put these in their mouths. I plan to remove all of them from my grandchildren’s toy box at my home. I will only buy American-made toys from now on.

  18. Thank you for the wonderful article! It is nice to see that M & D replied so quickly to you. As the mother of two young daughters I want to say that I completely understand the concerns expressed about toys, but want to add that it’s not WHERE the toys are made rather it is the QUALITY of the toys. I am a Discovery Toys consultant, and some of our toys are indeed made in China. However, most of our products do not have any paint on them. Also, Discovery Toys has always had an idependent company test the products before shipping to them. Once Discovery Toys receives them, they re-inspect, and products must meet or exceed U.S. & Cananda standards to get through. If one item does pass, Discovery Toys will deny the entire shipment! You can view their “Quality & Safety Promise” here:


    There you can also click on a link “Quality is our motto” to read more about the safety & quality of Discovery Toys products.

    In case you’re not familiar with Discovery Toys, they offer fun, SAFE, developmental/educational toys, books, games & music for ALL ages. All the toys come with a LIFETIME guarantee. If you’re interested in checking them out, please see my website:


    Feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance! My eamil is:


    In honor of promoting SAFE, fun, learning products, I would like to offer you 10% of all orders up to $50 or FREE shipping on orders over $50. To receive discount, you must place your order through me, not my website. Just mention “Safe Toys” promotion to receive your discount. Thank you and I look forward to assisting you in any way I can!!

  19. I appreciate your writings, after reading I googled and found the link below about lead paint in the yellow paint of a Melissa & Doug shape sorting clock. I called the company about it and they were unaware of this and were sending my info to product management for further review. If that toy had lead paint what other toys of theirs have lead paint? Especially anything yellow since that is what the lead was found in. I’ll write back with their response.


  20. The whole lead paint scare is even more reason we should all work diligently to research and buy AMERICAN MADE products for our children.

  21. Another great source for Made in the USA products is http://www.etsy.com. I’ve purchased half of my Christmas presents on the site and this year and I have been happy with everything that I have received.

  22. I just wanted to chime in here and say that there are many toy manufacturers outside of the US that are not made in China and do not use paint, but a water based stain on their wooden toys. Plan Toys and Haba are just two of the larger ones. Besides just the lead paint, you also need to be careful of what pesticides are in the wood drying process. Many “cheaper” wooden toy companies don’t want to put the time or money into pesticide free drying.

  23. Hey All,

    I am the founder of Toys n’ Tots Lead Detection and Home Safety. Our company conducts in home screening of children’s toys for lead. We use an XRF analyzer to quickly and accuraltey detect lead in a toy. We have found some alarming trends. 1 ) Toys made in the USA are not exempt from having lead. 2 ) Brand name toys are not exempt 3 ) There are still many toys that contain lead on the shelves of toy stores nationwide. 4 ) The same toy, may have lead in one shipment, and not another. 5 ) The only sure way to be positive that your child is safe is to test the toys he or she plays with.

    That is what we do at Toys n’ Tots Lead Detection and Home Safety. Look for us. http://www.toysntotsonline.com


    Jeff Hagopian

  24. I know that this is an old post – but in Canada, Health Canada has issued two recalls on their products within the last month for excess levels of barium.
    Here are the recalls notices:
    Geometric Stacker
    Stackable Train

    I have contacted Melissa and Doug regarding these recalls because they are not issuing product recalls for their Canadian distributors and only contact the stores affected to remove any remaining products. If they issued recall notices then the information could also get to the consumer so we could remove the product from our homes.

    I have stopped buying Melissa and Doug and don’t stand behind any of their products simply because they are not issuing recalls to help product their consumers.

  25. Hi,
    Seeing this blog, I had to comment. This is exactly why my husband and I are launching a new online store, Yankee Doodle Baby – The All American Baby Boutique (http://www.yankeedoodlebaby.com) . We have serious concerns about the safety and quality of toys and clothing made overseas and want to help stimulate this country’s economy. We will sell high quality American made products for babies and toddlers.

  26. The melissa and doug peg set you have shown here has been recalled as well as the kitchen set you talked about and the stacking train. Be careful about things you buy made in china even if the company says it is ok!

  27. My daughter received a Melissa and Doug puzzle for Christmas this year. I thought it was great that they use non-toxic coatings and paints, but I am concerned about the use of formaldehyde in the the chip board. My daughter puts the little animals in her mouth all the time. I have emailed them, but no response yet. I hope this company that promotes health and wellness in their products would not mislead consumers and use toxic chemicals.

  28. The pound a peg you have advertised here has been recalled!!!! Please take your advertisement down!!!

  29. how sad that melissa and doug use factories where such oversight is required. :(

  30. I was doing a little research on the Melssia and Doug toys and came a cross this post.
    I wish they weren’t made in china… but I love the wood!
    Check out the Stringbean Company! They are a mom and tot store where everything is made in the USA!

  31. Concering the “Lead Check” colormetric lead testing kits. These devices are only checking for Lead Based Paint (i.e. >0.5% lead) and often give a false positive. (Which i guess is better than a false negative.) At any rate a negative result by these devices does not mean there is no lead in the material.

  32. Just thought that I would add another resource link. My father and brother make handmade wooden toys ( as well as many many other things) They do not have a website… but have a facebook fan page and they sell their items on e-bay and etsy.
    They also will custom make what ever you need. If you want or need it and it is possible… they will do it.
    Here is a link to their fan page. These guys can help you with anything…. and EVERYTHING they make passes the standard that it is something that Dad’s 18 month old grand daughter ( my own daughter) can suck and chew on with no worries!

  33. Hi…. I publish a magazine and wanted to use a photo from your site as we are doing naturally dyed easter eggs.. also a quote…. can you please get back to me asap as I am working with a deadline.. thx

  34. I know this post was YEARS ago, but I found it with a Google search because my 9 month old has a Melissa & Doug wooden block set that she’s been chewing and I noticed green paint around her mouth the other day. Yours was the only useable information I found! Thank you!

  35. I too was concerned by Melissa and Doug Toys. And after there non response to my more direct question I will not have them in my house anymore. I asked them, what is “wooden” mean in Melissa and Doug toys? Because is certainly isn’t wood. I soaked washed some other toys that were listed as wood and they were actually pressed cardboard that swelled. Lead in paint is one big thing yes, but who knows what is in this conglomeration of goop that is molded together to resemble wood. After over a month, Melissa & Doug didn’t respond to my request to know simply what is “wooden”. I have an excellent list of toys I have since purchased and LOVE that are either wood or wool, if any one is interested. I am opposed to plastic too. Thanks and yes big toys companies today cannot be trusted.

  36. There are a number of soft toys made from organic cotton and printed with ecofriendly inks available at green sellers like ecofabrik.com. Also, there are hard wood toys made from organic bamboo wood and painted with ecofriendly paints. Most all of the bamboo toys are imported from China. In today’s eco-conscious market places, there are plenty of safer substitutes for toxic toys.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.