“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.