Products I Like – Clear Finish Wooden Toddler Toys

posted in: Children Products, Toy Products | 24

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Last updated on December 3rd, 2016

Clear-Finish-Wooden-Toddler-Toys

In this post, we will continue our discussion of toys and I will include my two toy company recommendations – clear finish wooden toddler toys. Clear finish wooden toddler toys are least likely to contain toxins such as lead, cadmium, mercury, phthalates, etc.

Toys are one of the toughest areas for me to find free of toxins. There are two reasons for the difficulties. When it comes to the materials of which toys are made, ultimately we have to rely on the toy makers to tell us if the materials they use are free of lead, cadmium, arsenic, BPA, PVC, phthalates, bromine, mercury, etc. The manufacturers of glue and paint have been the least responsive to my questions and if they respond, they say that can’t disclose their ingredients. It is a black hole. For now, I have not gone too far beyond “water-based,” and “formaldehyde-free” claims.

The second reason for the difficulty is that as parents we do not want our children to be deprived of fun and opportunities to develop. And even if you take every step to allow only clear finish wooden toddler toys, there will be places and people who will expose your toddler to toys containing toxins.  So we can fully protect our kids from toxins in toys only as a society. This is why it is important to share my posts. Please do.

So let’s talk about clear finish wooden toddler toys. I have done tons of research and concluded that we can only be sure that a toy is free of lead if there is no pigment in it. And even that might not be a guarantee, because the clear finishing oil on a wooden toy might have a lead-containing drying agent.

I will be researching more into toys and reporting back to you my findings of clear finish wooden toddler toys. I understand that toddlers can’t play only with colorless toys. They need a variety. And now let me present you with my current findings. I organized the information for an easy read. While wood is a safer alternative to plastic, it may contain toxins too such as toxic preservatives, which includes arsenic. Who would have thought?

 

Clear Finish Wooden Toddler Toys: Camden Rose

 

Wood: hardwoods such as cherry, maple, and walnut (no pine); the wood is not treated with chemicals but instead the wood is treated with heat; the wood comes from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Maine or the NE.

Finish: a blend of natural beewax and food-grade mineral oil. Camden Rose tested the mineral oil for phthalates and the test result was negative.

Glue: Titebond II, which is water-based, formaldehyde-free.

Manufacturing location: All of their wooden items are made in the USA.  Most of the wooden items are made in the Midwest (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana) but some are made in Maine. Knitted items are made in Peru where they support two fair trade non-profit organizations.

My Thoughts: I am not a huge fan of mineral oil as it is a petroleum product. I do not recommend using it on the skin or places where it may be ingested such as cutting boards (it took me forever to find a mineral oil-free cutting board) or teethers. I feel that it is okay if it is used on toddler toys, given the fact that toddlers do not mouth toys as often as babies and that Camden Rose uses very little of it. Camden Rose clear finish wooden toddler toys are much better alternatives to a lot of other toys out there. By the way, you may request unfinished toys from Camden Rose.

Where to Buy: http://www.palumba.com or Amazon

Clear Finish Wooden Toddler Toys: Elves and Angels

 

Wood: native, locally harvested and milled white pine and hardwoods such as ash, and birch; the wood is not treated with arsenic or other preservatives; some of their play kitchens come with a “Green” CARB 2 Certified Baltic Birch Plywood.

Finish: Tried and True Danish Oil, which is made of a blend of linseed oils (confirmed with the manufacturer of the Danish oil directly).

Glue: Elmers white, which is solvent- and formaldehyde-free.

Manufacturing location: all products are made and shipped from Maine, US.

My Thoughts: Elves and Angels sell toys from other toy makers on their website. Moreover, they make sets that include a combination of their toys and other brands. Elves and Angels makes toys with clear finishes only.

Where to Buy: the company’s website and Amazon

Conclusion About Clear Finish Wooden Toddler Toys

 

These two recommendations of clear finish wooden toddler toys are least likely to contain numerous toxic chemicals. I will be reporting back with more recommendations. Please stay tuned. In the meantime, let me know what toys you use and which toys you’d like me to look into.

 

24 Responses

  1. Suzie

    Hello Irina,
    It’s like you read my mind, I’ve just started researching non-toxic toys. I just purchased a couple from Hape toys. All their toys are made of wood but you’ve brought up some good points about them being toxic still.
    Do you know if their toys are safe?
    I very much enjoyed your video by the way. I think I will try bar soap for washing dishes as well and soap nuts for laundry!

    Thanks so much,
    Suzie

    • Irina Webb

      Yes- I will be sending my survey to a few companies including Hape. And I will publish updates. Thank you for your feedback, Suzie! I truly appreciate it!

  2. Vera

    I like Oompa but they sell a variety of different brands. I also came across everearth recently though I haven’t bought there yet. Both feature mostly colored products though.

  3. All Natural Katie

    Great post! I have always pushed for wooden toys, though inevitably, plastic toys are gifted. The immediate and extended family that knows about the wooden preferences have been pretty good. I started by adding the safer, lesser toxic wooden toy brands on my baby registry and then continue with Amazon Wish Lists for holiday gift ideas and birthday ideas. I find that a better approach is to be proactive about really liking a specific toy or specific brand. People are more likely to get it.

    It’s nice to know that if we focus on the rule of uncolored clear finished wooden toys, at least we doing the most we can to avoid toxic chemicals.

    I look toward your research on other brands. I will keep the list in mind.

      • All Natural Katie

        You’re welcome! I appreciate all of the research that you are doing and sharing with the rest of the parents out there so that we are more educated and more informed about the products we purchase.

  4. Vera

    Hi Irina,

    I just recently read in a magazine about littlesapplingtoys. /they might be just the thing: uncolored and finished with beeswax and jojoba oil!

  5. Kira

    The quest for non-plastic toys seems never ending, but it’s good to know there ARE alternatives out there! I came across some good sites on Etsy. Someone mentioned Little Sappling, but there is also Bannor Toys (I have a few of their teethers and love them!), Little Wooden Wonders and Smiling Tree Toys. I am about to order some of the cars/trucks from Little Wooden Wonders! I also came across a site that listed some other brands to consider…https://naturalbabymama.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/toys-no-plastic/

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Kira! Here’s an interesting story. I emailed Bannor Toys and everything looked good until I asked them about glue and paint. They say that the glue and paint they use are ORGANIC and made in the US. I was amazed as I’d never heard of such a thing. Bummer, they can’t tell me their brand names. They say it is a trade secret. I am not sure if it’s a smart marketing move. What about the glue and paint manufacturers? Don’t they want to scream into everybody’s hear that they were able to create organic glue and paint that work for toys?

  6. Teresa

    You may want to try a local wooden toymaker. I recently went to a festival in my town and found toymaker who makes wooden toys that are unfinished. His toys are priced lower than places such as Elves and angels and then you can finish them in the type of finish you know is safe!

  7. Teresa

    Also, I buy a lot of wooden toys for my children but I am getting worried about what to buy my son as he ages. All his friends will l have these cool plastic toys that he will want and what will he have? wooden toys that to me are cool, but they lack all the bells and whistles. Anyone running into this problem?

  8. Kira

    I recently came across a company called Wooden Story that makes their toys in Poland. Their unpainted toys state they have a beeswax and botanical oils polish, and the painted toys state all natural eco-certified paints. Their website and products seem like they have a genuine care to be non-toxic, but am wondering if you came across them or know much about them to know if their toys are “safe”. My little boy loves chewing on things and even companies like Hape I am leery of since they are made in China and he has actually chipped the paint off! Thanks!

  9. Lila

    Great post!! Just found your blog and love it. How do you know if the linseed oil Elves & Angels uses does not have lead?

  10. Lila

    Angels & Elves told you who the manufacturer of their linseed oil was? that is great if they did!

  11. Sara

    Have you sent your questionnaire to Plan Toys or Haba? Although I do Camden Rose and Angels & Elves, I also want to provide my kids with wood toys that have COLOR. Both Plan Toys and Haba claim they use water-based paint or dyes but I know, based on reading your blog, that the toys can still be toxic. Thanks for all of your research!

    • Irina Webb

      Hi Sara, thank you for reminding. I have to go back and look at my notes. In the meantime, check healthystuff.org database for the results of their testing. Some Plan Toys and Haba toys have been tested. I know kids need color. And while we can protect them as babies, once they start walking a lot of things are not in our control any more. Balance. ~Irina

  12. Tatiana

    Irina,
    As always – amazing and informative post! As someone mentioned in the comments I have also always focused on buying the least toxic toys and teethers for my baby, but these ubiquitous plastic toys make their way into one’s home and life. I have surrounded him with teething toys from Camden Rose, Under the Nile and Ringley, thinking that I’ve done such a good job and I can now sleep better at night with the thought my baby will not be exposed to the toxins, lead and other nasty stuff that has no business being present in children’s toys. Well…my little one showed little to no interest in the toys chosen under strict scrutiny by mom and decided to chew on everything else – remote controls, chairs, table corners, shoes (!). I think my husband and I will wake up one day and our toes will be missing… This probably gets us into the topic of “challenges of parenthood” rather than “safe toys”…, but it is definitely of utmost importance that each one of us does a little better for our families, communities and the environment by being a conscious, educated and more demanding (why not) consumer. Great post!
    P.S. Irina, your post begs the question about the mysterious cutting board!

  13. Kamala

    Did you ever find out Moore about the company wood story? Just purchased blocks from them and wondering how safe. Also, label says for 1yr but I have an 8 month. Is the suggested age because of the mouthing or just some blocks may be too small? I have not been able to find any reviews on these products. Thanks

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