Melissa and Doug Wood Toys, Safe or Not?

I loved Melissa and Doug toys right away when I became a parent, especially when compared to all the plastic junk I was seeing everywhere. At least it was wood, and seemed well designed, creative and fun. And they weren’t that expensive, especially compared to the other wood toys I would see from Europe or from natural toys stores.

Then all the recalls happened. I became skeptical of anything made in China. As I looked around my house, my anxiety grew. I saw some plastic, more then I want to admit, but mostly lots of Melissa and Doug toys: puzzles, a barn, play food– with lots of red paint (and red paint is more likely to have lead in it-gulp).

A friend of mine emailed the company about lead, and here is the response she got:

“Yes, we definitely appreciate and understand your concern. Please be assured, we test for lead VERY frequently. It’s quite possible to make great quality children’s items in China, which meet all safety regulations, but the key point is that you have to test and inspect very frequently to be sure that your factories are always following your instructions explicitly. We assure you that’s exactly what we do. From our experience, the key to doing this correctly is not simply to insist that your factories follow your instructions, but then to go one step further and to AUDIT, INSPECT, AND TEST very frequently. That is the most important part of the process, and it’s something our company has always taken VERY seriously. Thanks again for asking, and for your support also.”

Your Dedicated Customer Service Team
Melissa & Doug, Inc.
800-284-3948

So are they safe? They probably are, but of course no one can say for sure. Although I am still very skeptical of all things made in China, the above email did make me feel a bit better. I will save my daughter’s Melissa and Doug toys from the trash pile, but I don’t think I will be purchasing any items from them in the future. I hope to buy more from small U.S. toy makers, especially like the ones I listed in the holiday gift post below.

7 Responses to Melissa and Doug Wood Toys, Safe or Not?

  1. CJStewart January 30, 2008 at 6:56 pm #

    Hey, that's the exact same e-mail I got when I contacted Melissa & Doug. You'd almost think they just copy and paste. ;-)

  2. Anonymous November 16, 2008 at 7:12 pm #

    There is a recall in Canada for Melissa and Doug stacking trains. The paint contains high levels of barium. Check it out:http://www.healthycanadians.ca/pr-rp/recall-retrait_e.php?langCd=eng&searchTyp=1&re_id=494&searchstring=melissa%20and%20doug&searchyear=&searchcategory=&StartIndex=1

  3. Katy Farber November 17, 2008 at 7:02 pm #

    Thank you so much! I just posted about this AND we have this train!! I appreciate you passing this along-

  4. Anonymous November 17, 2009 at 4:52 pm #

    I want to stress to you that Mellissa and Doug regardless of their copy pasting email tech who by the way is the same person that sends out each email is full of lead. I purchased for my son last christmas a barn – yard animal puzzle, which by the way took my teething toddler approximately 1 month to eat the sheep and the cow, took him to the dr approximately 2 weeks after this episode and my sons lead levels were 14. It required me to have to take him back for a blood draw, removal of all the mellissa and doug puzzles I had purchased in good will lol and it took 2 months for the lead to go to regular levels, but still not the best. He had to be tested again a month later. Dont buy this stuff! Its got lead regardless of what they are saying they are not testing it, it comes from CHINA and is packaged in China which means they have no way of testing these items. We have called our local lead dept and advised them of this but everytime I go to the store I find tons and tons of their products on the shelves. Please do not purchase this stuff, it can absorb into their fingertips or they eat it when they eat after playing with the toy. By the way i went to Home Depot and bought a ton of the lead test kits and tested every single item in my house, walls, window sills, all his plastic toys, only thing that came up positive was Mellissa and Doug…From Just a concerned Mommy

  5. Anonymous March 19, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Their toys are junk…you can buy them in gas stations..yes they are less expensive than european toys because they are made in China..duh!!..I only buy euro wooden toys for my kids…most are made paint free

  6. Katy Farber May 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    YIkes! Thanks for the last two comments. So sorry that you had that lead exposure with your little one. Mamas, heed that example!And yes, second anonymous commenter, I agree! They are not cheap, cheap, cheaply made. Thanks again!

  7. Anonymous April 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    I bought a melissa and doug toy last week for my grandson, and am looking for a few more things for his first birthday. After reading someone's review of one toy regarding lead in the paint, i went to their website, and then found this thread. I read, and then reread the comment from melissa and doug and noticed that while they stress the importance of frequent testing, they never said anything about the results of the lead testing on their toys. Do their toys have lead in the paint? They never said they don't! I also noticed that there is nothing mentioned in their company's promises (on their website) about lead in the paint. I'd be hesitant to purchase anything more from them until they can guarantee customers that quality assurance and safety are constantly monitored, and that their toys are lead-free.

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