There are countless advertising campaigns that would like you to believe that your child needs the latest new thingamabob in order to grow into an intelligent little person. But when it comes to toys, your grandparents probably had the advantage. natural wooden toys

Traditionally, all over the world toys have been made of natural materials like wood, lovingly built by craftsmen and artisans. Natural wood is beautiful, non-toxic, and durable, making it a wonderfully suitable material to make natural toys for babies and children.

Tune Out to Tune In

Many parents buy into the hype of flashy new toys with battery operated components that produce sounds and movement. Parents are told that these high-tech toys will stimulate their children and enhance brain activity.

While stimulation is good and important for brain development, children are becoming overstimulated by the high tech society that we live in. Bombarded with lights, sounds, television, advertisements, and animated objects everywhere we go, children today are exposed to more external stimuli than during any other time in our history. All this external stimuli is precisely why the home should be a haven for creative and imaginative play, inspired by natural wooden toys.

The All Natural Argument for Wooden Toys

Wooden Dollhouses for KidsWooden toys allow children to develop cognitive and problem solving skills while engaging in play. The simplicity of wooden toys requires children to use their imagination and creativity, much more so than flashy, battery-generated toys allow.

Modern toys are designed to distract or amuse children, similar to the way television is used to distract. Rather than pushing a button and sitting back to watch the toy animate itself, the child has to be an active participant to engage in play with wooden toys, requiring them to actively push, pull, turn or connect parts. When paired with a fresh young imagination, the possibilities of solid wooden toys are endless.

Developmental Benefits of Natural Wooden Toys

There are several notable developmental benefits of playing with wooden toys. Apart from developing imagination and creativity, these include the development of: Wooden Toys

  • hand-eye coordination
  • problem solving and puzzle skills
  • spatial awareness
  • shape and color recognition
  • finger dexterity
  • movement and motor skills
  • increasing attention span and patience

The natural textures of wood against little hands and fingers also invites children to touch, feel and explore, stimulating the senses. The benefits of natural wooden toys for kids are virtually endless.

Make the Switch to Natural Wooden Toys

wooden toys for kidsIt is only within the last several decades that we have seen a switch from natural toys to toys made from chemicals in toxic plastic factories. These plastic toys do not stand the test of time, they are cheap, toxic and unsustainable.

More and more research is concluding that plastic leaches out toxic chemicals, even the so called safe plastics that are BPA free have been proven to leach estrogenic chemicals. Babies and toddlers love to put things in their mouth! Plastic is not suitable for anyone to be putting in their mouths, especially children in their vital developmental years.

All natural wooden toys are safe, non toxic and durable enough to inspire creativity and imaginative play for generations to come.


Having fun

Don’t parents and childcare providers have enough to worry about these days? Chemicals in our food and water, chemicals in our homes and yards, and chemicals in children’s toys, gear, and clothes! Just when I think manufacturers are coming to their senses, a report comes out stating otherwise. This month the Washington Toxics Coalition and Safer States found that makers of kids’ products reported using a total of 41 chemicals identified by Washington State Department of Ecology as a concern for children’s health.

The chemical reports are required under Washington State’s Children’s Safe Products Act of 2008, which requires major companies making children’s products to report the presence of toxic chemicals in their products. The reports cover certain children’s products sold in Washington State from June 1, 2012 to March 1, 2013.

Major findings from the reports include:

  • More than 5,000 products have been reported to date as containing a chemical on Washington State’s list of 66 Chemicals of High Concern to Children.
  • Products reported so far include children’s clothing and footwear, personal care products, baby products, toys, car seats, and arts and craft supplies.
  • Toxic metals such as mercury, cadmium, cobalt, antimony, and molybdenum were reported, with cobalt being the metal most often reported.
  • Manufacturers reported using phthalates in clothing, toys, bedding, and baby products.
  • Other chemicals reported include solvents like ethylene glycol and methyl ethyl ketone, and a compound used in silicone known as octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane.

Here’s a list of the most common chemicals that may be found in varying levels in today’s conventional, plastic or painted children’s toys (and their yucky implications – which, of course, depend on the level of exposure in each case):

  • Lead
    • A heavy metal that can be used for pigmentation in paints and plastics as well as a stabilizer in PVC products (which we’ll get to later).  It also is used often in the casting of metal, namely in inexpensive toy jewelry.
    • There really is no safe level of lead for children.  It impacts brain development, which can cause delays in learning and shorter attention spans.  Even worse, these effects are irreversible.
  • Bromine
    • Used primarily as a flame-retardant in textiles and furniture.
    • These flame-retardants build up in humans and can cause reproductive problems for exposed women as well as possible birth defects.  They contaminate breastmilk and umbilical cord blood and are classified as “possible human carcinogens.”
  • PVC & Phthalates
    • PVC is a widely used plastic, very common in children’s toys.  It is not easily recycled and extremely toxic when produced and disposed of.  It is also extremely brittle, requiring additives to make it flexible (most commonly phthalates, pronounced “thal-ates”).
    • Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are most commonly used to add flexibility and resilience to plastic products.  They are easily leached and exposed to humans via ingestion, inhalation, or simply through exposure to the skin.  Phthalates are most often found in household products from toys to plastic raincoats to that inflatable pool in the backyard.  They can also be found in non-plastic items such as personal care products (by way of “fragrance”).
    • Phthalates are carcinogenic and they may cause kidney and thyroid problems.  They are also linked to increased instances of asthma and allergies.  Most notably, they can have detrimental effects on the endocrine system, altering normal levels of hormones in young boys.
  • Cadmium
    • Another heavy metal used in pigments and as a stabilizer in PVC.
    • At high levels of exposure, cadmium can be linked to cancer and can cause adverse effects on the kidneys, lungs, and intestines.
  • Arsenic (inorganic)
    • May be used as a coloring agent in plastics and textiles.
    • Inorganic arsenic is carcinogenic and may cause cardiovascular problems, skin irritations, and hormonal issues.
  • Mercury
    • Most commonly used in inks, adhesives, and coatings and most toxic during production and when disposed of.
    • Mercury can build up in the body and young children are more sensitive to it.  It affects kidney function and is detrimental to the nervous system and brain.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
    • Used mainly to make rigid polycarbonate plastic (that #7 plastic with PC underneath the triangular symbol).  It’s also found in epoxy resins, which are used in the inner coatings of food cans.
    • BPA is an endocrine-disruptor; a synthetic estrogen that can cause problems in neurological development, behavior, and fertility.  It can trigger hyperactivity and attention deficit and may also lead to cancer and obesity.

So… after all of that shockingly bad news, what can we do as parents and caregivers to ensure that the children around us are not exposed to such harmful substances?  The first step has been taken care of just by reading this post!  Being aware of what chemicals are harmful and then going beyond that to avoid such nasty substances is a great start.  Then, get rid of all of the “perpetrators” in the home and choose wooden and organic toys.  Ensure any coatings are completely non-toxic.  Do your homework and purchase toys from reputable companies who have proven that toy safety is their top concern.

Visit www.HealthyStuff.org for more valuable information, then be sure to stop by www.HazelnutKids.com to get that toy box restocked!


There’s some recent news from the capitol and it’s going to help parents (especially ones with children in school and daycare) get one step closer to breathing a little easier when it comes to knowing what their children are playing with.

In early November, over 13,000 public health professionals from across the U.S. came together at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) annual public meeting.  One of the key results of this meeting was the passing of a major policy resolution: Reducing PVC in Facilities with Vulnerable Populations.” In short, this resolution urges governments to take the necessary steps to stop the use of flexible PVC in consumer products (ie: toys, school supplies, lunch-box items, etc) that may be used in schools, daycares and other places with young children.  (The resolution extends to cover all vulnerable groups including the elderly and those with medical illnesses as well as the facilities in which they occupy.) This is important because it shows that one of the largest health organizations in the country now officially recognizes the ill effects that PVC and phthalates can have on a child’s health.

PVC is the world’s most hazardous (and widely-used) plastic.  It releases phthalates, dioxins and vinyl chloride.  (Check out our previous blog on the Most Common Chemicals Found in Children’s Toys. Yet it continues to be used in children’s toys and other items commonly found in your child’s classroom or daycare center.  This resolution will hopefully put additional pressure on all levels of government to look more closely at the serious dangers these chemicals present to our children and work to eventually, by law, eliminate the use of PVC altogether.

This is a huge step forward.  Although it’s not yet law, it brings some significant weight towards making it so.  In the meantime we, as parents, can ensure that any toys in our homes are PVC-free.  We can also encourage our schools and daycare centers to adopt a similar goal.  Take a few minutes to clean out that toy box or backpack, and then visit www.HazelnutKids.com to check out our vast selection of entirely PVC-free toys and children’s items!

Shannon Beery – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn


As parents, we know too well that at a certain stage of our children’s lives (namely that of my 8-month old daughter!) EVERYTHING goes into their mouths.  It’s just part of life for these little ones, so it’s our job to make sure that whatever does go inside there is safe and not going to leave any trace of chemical or other harmful substance.

Here’s a list of the most common chemicals that may be found in varying levels in today’s conventional, plastic or painted children’s toys (and their yucky implications – which, of course, depend on the level of exposure in each case):

  • Lead
    • A heavy metal that can be used for pigmentation in paints and plastics as well as a stabilizer in PVC products (which we’ll get to later).  It also is used often in the casting of metal, namely in inexpensive toy jewelry.
    • There really is no safe level of lead for children.  It impacts brain development, which can cause delays in learning and shorter attention spans.  Even worse, these effects are irreversible.
  • Bromine
    • Used primarily as a flame-retardant in textiles and furniture.
    • These flame-retardants build up in humans and can cause reproductive problems for exposed women as well as possible birth defects.  They contaminate breastmilk and umbilical cord blood and are classified as “possible human carcinogens.”
  • PVC & Phthalates
    • PVC is a widely used plastic, very common in children’s toys.  It is not easily recycled and extremely toxic when produced and disposed of.  It is also extremely brittle, requiring additives to make it flexible (most commonly phthalates, pronounced “thal-ates”).
    • Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are most commonly used to add flexibility and resilience to plastic products.  They are easily leached and exposed to humans via ingestion, inhalation, or simply through exposure to the skin.  Phthalates are most often found in household products from toys to plastic raincoats to that inflatable pool in the backyard.  They can also be found in non-plastic items such as personal care products (by way of “fragrance”).
    • Phthalates are carcinogenic and they may cause kidney and thyroid problems.  They are also linked to increased instances of asthma and allergies.  Most notably, they can have detrimental effects on the endocrine system, altering normal levels of hormones in young boys.
  • Cadmium
    • Another heavy metal used in pigments and as a stabilizer in PVC.
    • At high levels of exposure, cadmium can be linked to cancer and can cause adverse effects on the kidneys, lungs, and intestines.
  • Arsenic (inorganic)
    • May be used as a coloring agent in plastics and textiles.
    • Inorganic arsenic is carcinogenic and may cause cardiovascular problems, skin irritations, and hormonal issues.
  • Mercury
    • Most commonly used in inks, adhesives, and coatings and most toxic during production and when disposed of.
    • Mercury can build up in the body and young children are more sensitive to it.  It affects kidney function and is detrimental to the nervous system and brain.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
    • Used mainly to make rigid polycarbonate plastic (that #7 plastic with PC underneath the triangular symbol).  It’s also found in epoxy resins, which are used in the inner coatings of food cans.
    • BPA is an endocrine-disruptor; a synthetic estrogen that can cause problems in neurological development, behavior, and fertility.  It can trigger hyperactivity and attention deficit and may also lead to cancer and obesity.

So… after all of that shockingly bad news, what can we do as parents and caregivers to ensure that the children around us are not exposed to such harmful substances?  The first step has been taken care of just by reading this post!  Being aware of what chemicals are harmful and then going beyond that to avoid such nasty substances is a great start.  Then, get rid of all of the “toy perpetrators” in the toy box and choose wooden and organic toys.  Ensure any coatings are completely non-toxic.  Do your homework and purchase toys from reputable companies who have proven that toy safety is their top concern.

Visit www.HealthyStuff.org for more valuable information, then be sure to stop by www.HazelnutKids.com to get that toy box restocked!

Shannon – Research Specialist


Buying toys for your loved ones used to be a simple endeavor. However, we are all now, unfortunately, familiar with the recall notices and other alerts for toys and children’s items in the news that appear almost constantly. Illinois’ Attorney General Lisa Madigan is known for producing an annual guide (http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/pressroom/2010_11/Play_It_Safe2010RecallGuide.pdf) to toys and children’s products that are unsafe due to a number of factors. This guide is useful but it does not address other chemicals, such as BPA, that have given parents reason to pause and evaluate every purchase for their children.

I started shopping at Hazelnut Kids for my children for my son’s first Christmas. While I had taken great care to take care of myself when I was pregnant and change the type of food I ate, cosmetics and cleaning products I used, and clothing and diapers I purchased, I did not realize the complexities of buying toys for my son until his first Christmas and birthday approached.

Instead of toxic pull toys mentioned in the Illinois report, my son has these, which my daughter now loves. I have not had to be concerned about lead recalls years later or worry about small plastic parts falling off that could be ingested.

Plan Toys - Dancing Alligator Wooden Pull Toy

Plan Toys - Dancing Alligator Wooden Pull Toy

Plan Toys - Snail Wooden Pull Along Toy

Plan Toys - Snail Wooden Pull Along Toy

Parents of children 4 and older will remember the 2007 wooden train recall from RC2 that manufactures Thomas & Friends™. My son was beginning to be interested in trains that year and we made a choice to purchase a Plan Toys Rail and Road set like this one. I have never had concerns about these pieces and have found the paint and moving parts to work without fail for nearly three years of constant use.

Plan Toys - Road and Rail Play Set - City Transportation

Plan Toys - Road and Rail Play Set - City Transportation

Now that my daughter is older and interested in dolls, we will be purchasing a dollhouse for her and thought of no other retailer than Hazelnut to get one for her. The colors and design of this house are as exciting and interesting as other Plan Toys products are but I have no concerns about lead or other toxic materials in the paint. It is guaranteed to see a lot of use in the years to come.

Plan Toys - Chalet Wooden Dollhouse with Furniture

Plan Toys - Chalet Wooden Dollhouse with Furniture

Katherine DeGood – Contributing Writer for Hazelnut Kids and Mother of Willem and Adeline


Green America People's Choice Award

Hazelnut Kids is proud to announce that we made top ten for the Green America People’s Choice Awards!  We are so grateful to our loyal customers for supporting us (and, of course, we would be even more grateful if you support us again and vote one more time!).

We are proud to be a company truly built on the principle of providing safe, quality, easy on the environment toys to our customers.  This recognition means a lot to us, as we are focused on making our footprint smaller – not just making our piece of the market larger.

So thank you friends, for doing your part by choosing the path less traveled, and taking steps  towards a greener life – one toy at a time!

Bridgett, Manager – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys 


Although I applaud Congress for creating legislation to try to ensure fewer lead-paint toy recalls, the resulting legislation has an unexpected and unfortunate outcome: the cheap plastic toy manufacturers will remain in business while the natural toy manufacturers, the ones NOT involved in toy recalls, will be unable to stay in business. I ask you to please read the article on the Mothering magazine website entitled “Toy Safety Legislation: Good Intentions Lead to Catastrophic Results for the Natural Toy Industry” and then write to your representative right away.

One of Hazelnut Kids’ favorite manufacturers, Selecta Spielzeug, has already announced that they will no longer sell their toys in the United States because the expense of the redundant testing being required by the new legislation is too cost prohibitive. Let’s act now before more of these fabulous manufacturers follow suit, leaving us with only plastic and battery-operated toys that cause so much harm to the environment and our children. These new regulations also affect small toy manufacturers such as those who sell on Etsy, which means that more small family businesses will be forced to close.

Please help us to protect our children and the Earth by contacting your representative now. Contact information is in the Mothering article.

Sincerely,

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids


We just found out about a voluntary recall that involves 22 different Haba toys. 7 of the toys involved incidents where a small piece on the toy could detach, posing a choking hazard. No injuries occurred. The other 15 toys have similar designs as the ones involved in the incidents, so Haba is proactively recalling those toys.

Following are toys that have been involved in incidents and which we have carried at our store:

  • #0973 Little Heart Clutching Toy
  • #1037 Bunny Pacifier Chain
  • #1048 Bear Pacifier Chain

The toys proactively recalled that we have carried are:

  • #0917 Speedy Clutching Toy
  • #0919 Clutching Toy Pixie’s World
  • #0974 Bonita Clutching Toy
  • #0975 Rally Clutching Toy
  • #1067 Triola
  • #3572 Discovery Ball with Rattle
  • #3571 Discovery Balls, set of 4

The reason these are being recalled is that the glued-on mirror and/or prism can detach, posing a choking hazard.

For a full list of the products recalled, pictures of the products, or for more information about the recalls, please visit these pages:

If you have any of the involved products, please take them away from your children immediately. Haba has created an easy to submit online form which shows the products recalled (see “Recall Application Form” above). On the form you can choose to receive a refund of the MSRP of the product, and in some cases you will have the option to choose to exchange the toy if you would prefer. As stated on the recall application form, Haba will reimburse your US Postal costs to send the products back to them.

If you have purchased any of these toys from Hazelnut Kids and have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact us. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

Sheri Novak, Owner – HazelnutKids.com


We received a notice yesterday from eeBoo that they are issuing a voluntary recall of their Tot Towers. According to eeBoo, “There have been reports of isolated incidents involving the plastic film laminate being peeled off Tot Tower blocks. Although no report of any injury has been received, we are concerned this could present a choking risk to small children. We therefore have voluntarily notified the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and have agreed upon a course of action to remedy the situation.”

eeBoo will be sending a letter to customers who have bought a Tot Tower in the past.  We have sent an email to all of our customers who have purchased Tot Towers in the past, but if you have purchased a Tot Tower from us and we do not have your current email address in our system, or if you’ve purchased it somewhere else and just want some information about the recall, here are some details:

eeBoo asks that you take the Tot Tower from your children immediately and either:

1) Discard the product, or
2) Return it to the store you purchased it from for a full refund, or
3) Send it to eeBoo for a suitable replacement eeBoo product. In exchange for the return of the toy directly to eeBoo, they also will send you a small gift to thank you for your cooperation. For more information about the recall and the return form, please follow this link to the eeBoo website: http://www.eeboo.com/recall_tot_towers.php

If you purchased a Tot Tower from us and would like to return it to us for a refund, please contact us for the address to return it to (we included the address in the email that was sent, but spammers love to grab addresses from blogs, so we’re not posting the address here).

If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact us or to contact eeBoo at (800) 791-5619 or safety@eeboo.com.


We recently added a new toy category on the HazelnutKids website called ‘Made in America’, for those customers who prefer to only buy toys made in the United States. We currently have four pages of toys in that category, and intend to continually expand our selection.

We often receive emails asking which toys are made in America, and if any are made in China. In the wake of so many toy recalls, we understand the concern. On each product’s page on our website there is an orange box which shows where the product was made. Additionally, our ‘Toy Safety’ page lists each brand that we carry, where the toys are made, the materials used, their safety standards, and much more.

Although the majority of our toys are made in Germany, Thailand, and the United States, we do offer some toys that are made in China. However, there are several key differences between the companies that we buy from whom make their toys in China, and those involved in recent recalls. The biggest difference is that our companies maintain strict oversight of the production process. Several even own the factories and employ the workers themselves, to ensure that they have complete control over the production process. All of our manufacturers are dedicated to toy safety, and test the supplies that are used to make their toys. Additionally, our manufacturers create only thousands of their products, compared to millions as companies like Mattel do. Because they produce much smaller quantities, our manufacturers are able to oversee the creation of their toys, and to test the final products.

If you ever have any questions about our products, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing info@hazelnutkids.com or calling us toll-free at 888.869.1901.


We recently received the following letter from HaPe to its retailers. HaPe is the manufacturer of our Bamboo Toys line and Anamalz, which we will begin carrying within the next few weeks. HaPe is one of the few lines that we carry that are manufactured in China, but as you will read, they own the factory in China and manage the entire manufacturing process to ensure toy safety:

Dear Valued HaPe Customers,

In response to recent and numerous toy recalls that suggest there’s trouble in toyland, we want to reassure you of HaPe’s commitment to the manufacturing of safe, quality toys.

We recognize the responsibility of producing a safe product for children. Since 1995 we have been producing HaPe toys in China using rigorous quality control principles adopted while manufacturing in Germany. Unlike other toy companies, we manage the entire toy manufacturing process from our wholly-owned Ningbo facility with HaPe employees thoroughly trained on process, quality and safety. With this formalized approach, we control design, production, testing and delivery of our robust range of award-winning toys to your store.

We are very quality-driven. In fact, we were one of the first two companies to receive the below certifications:

ISO 9001 (Quality Management Certification)
ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Certification)
ICTI (Social Accountability – audit by the International Council of Toy Industries)

We source top-of-the-line materials from responsible suppliers around the world.

Birch plywood from Russia (Note from Hazelnut Kids: birch plywood is not used in HaPe toys carried by Hazelnut Kids)
Lacquer from Belgium
Beech wood, glue and water stain from Germany

We are continually striving to improve the products we create. To ensure a 100% safe product, all HaPe products undergo rigorous international safety tests and have passed all EN71 and the North American Safety Standard ASTM. All HaPe products made in China comply with North American regulations for safe use by children and do not contain lead paint or hazardous materials. In the rare occurrence when HaPe uses a sub contractor, we use SGS, a highly regarded independent lab, to perform safety and quality tests prior to every shipment and conduct unplanned spot checks.

We are very proud of our HaPe collection and want you to know you are welcome to come visit our production facilities anytime. We look forward to supplying you with quality toys for years to come.


In order to provide toy safety information and other details about the brands we carry, we have added a new page to the HazelnutKids website called “Toy Safety“. It details:

  • Why we love the brand
  • The country where the toys are crafted
  • How long the company has been in business
  • The materials used
  • Safety information
  • Customer favorites
  • Staff favorites
  • Awards the toys and/or company have won
  • A message from the manufacturer

A link to it is in the footer at the bottom of every page, but you can also view it here.


Keptin Jr. is one of Hazelnut Kids’ favorite brands, as the company’s beliefs about child and environmental health so closely match our own. They are a fabulous company that makes the most adorable, soft, organic dolls and rattles. We carry their Organic Rattle Zmooz and Organic Cuddle Shirt Dolls.

What follows is information from Keptin Jr’s website. So impressive!

“Keptin Jr chooses to use responsible and natural materials.

Why organic cotton?

Cotton is made of the fibers of the cotton plant. This plant, which is cultivated in (sub)tropical regions, needs a lot of water and is sensitive to insect-pests. Organic cotton is cultivated without the use of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Only biological controls and natural fertilizers are allowed for the production of organic cotton. In addition, organic farmers make use of the advantages of bio-diversity in order to keep the soil fertile.

• For reasons of health

We don’t want to expose children to toxic chemicals and pesticides, that’s why we choose to use organic cotton. In addition, organic cotton cultivation protects the health of the farmers involved and protects the environment.

• To protect the environment

If no pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are used, no harm will be done to the environment and surface waters. This is a major improvement for the mainly poor countries where cotton is cultivated.

• For reasons of fair-trade

Traditionally produced cotton is cheaper than organic cotton. This statement is only true if we disregard the hidden costs of traditional cotton cultivation. Hidden costs are the price the local community pays to fight for example the pollution of the environment or waters.

• Why pure sheep’s wool

Pure sheep’s wool has two important qualities. It absorbs body smell and adjusts to the body-temperature quickly; perfect attributes for soft toys for babies and children.

• For every baby, toddler, or preschooler

Because of the sheep’s wool our soft toys are warm and seem to be alive. The wool stuffing of the toy absorbs the child’s smell, that’s why our toys become trusted cuddly friends.

• For premature babies

Keptin Jr’s soft toys are a comfort to premature babies and will help them relax. How? The parents of a premature baby should wear the toy on their skin for a day. When the toy is left in the incubator with the baby, the baby smells the familiar scent of his parents.”


What follows is a safety statement from eeBoo.  eeBoo is one of the few brands we carry that is made in China, but as you will read, they maintain strict oversight over the production process.

August 30, 2007

Dear Valued Customers –

eeBoo understands the concerns many of you are having regarding the safety of children’s products made in China.  This is of particular concern at this busy holiday season and in light of the recent media attention.

eeBoo would like to take this opportunity to reassure all of its customers that we only use a limited number of factories in the production of our products.  These are all factories we work with closely on a daily basis and do not outsource any product without our prior knowledge.

The factories we use are certified with safety testing on each component of our products.  Any product with a painted component is independently safety tested at each printing.  We also randomly test individual items using an independent source.  All items tested are tested to ASTM and CE standards.

I hope that this helps to reassure you.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Regards
eeBoo


Shortly we will be adding a “Brands” page at HazelnutKids that will detail the philosophy, safety standards, country of origin, and additional information about each of the brands we carry. We recently received a letter from Plan Toys addressing the issue of safety in the wake of other manufacturer’s toy recalls, and we’d like to share it with you:

Dear Valued Customers,

In response to the latest concern regarding the use of lead paint in the manufacture of toys, Plan Toys would like to reassure all retailers and consumers that Plan Toys is manufactured with the highest safety and environmental standards in mind. We build 100% of our products within our own factory, so we control the entire process from wood selection, manufacturing, to shipping.

  • Plan Toys is manufactured from replenishable rubberwood.
  • Plan Toys uses a natural kiln dry process, in place of chemical treatment, to preserve and stabilize the wood, thus making the Plan Toys products preservative-free.
  • Plan Toys uses natural, water-based dyes in place of any type of paint to add accent colors.
  • Plan Toys has won the following standards and awards for safety, environmental sensitivity and innovative design:
    • ISO 9001 – Quality Management
    • ISO 14000 – Environmental Management
    • OHSAS 18001 – Occupational Health and Safety Management
    • SA 8000 – Social Accountability Management
    • ASTM & EN71 – Toy Safety Standards
    • Parents’ Choice Awards
    • Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards

Plan Toys takes tremendous pride in providing safe toys that are manufactured with sensitivity toward our environment.

Sincerely,
Nittaya Zeugfang
President
Plan Toys, Inc

We are proud to carry Plan Toys at HazelnutKids!


“Are your wooden toys safe?”. It’s a question I had rarely been asked before 2007, but with the Mattel, Thomas the Train, and other toy recalls this year, it’s understandable that parents are asking now. Hazelnut Kids products have never been involved in a recall, and our family does not own any of the recalled toys. Yet, as a mother and a natural health advocate, I am deeply saddened and frustrated that our world’s children are being harmed by toys that should be bringing them nothing but joy. As a toy store owner, I am appalled that certain manufacturers are so focused on saving money by having their operations in China, that they are failing to oversee the operations and ensuring that their toys are safe.

As I was creating Hazelnut Kids, my vision was to offer toys that were gentle on the earth and healthy for children. I also wanted parents to feel comfortable buying from us, knowing that we have done the research on our toys. I made a list of the criteria our toys would need to pass in order to be offered at Hazelnut Kids, a few of which are:

  • The toy can not be battery-operated or made of plastic, which can negatively impact children’s mental and physical health.
  • Any baby toy we carry will be made of organic cotton or wood with non-toxic finishes. If it’s in a baby’s hand it will be in the baby’s mouth, which is no place for the chemicals in plastic and conventionally-grown cotton toys.
  • The manufacturers will adhere to strict safety standards and use the most ecologically-friendly materials and processes.
  • The majority of the toys will be created in the United States or in Europe (where strict safety guidelines are followed).

Although we carry a few toys that are made in China, they are made under strict oversight by the manufacturers, and are created in well-established facilities. Every product description on our site includes the country where the toy was made, so even though we feel comfortable with the few products we carry that are made in China, if a parent does not want to buy a toy made in China, she can easily see where a toy was made. Additionally, we have created a “Toy Safety” page which details the materials used, safety standards, country of origin, and much more about each of the brands we carry at HazelnutKids.

As devastating as the recent toy recalls have been, there is one upside: toy manufacturers will be forced to start focusing on children’s health, as they should have all along. As their toys are in our children’s hands, our children’s health is in their hands.