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.
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.