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Can wooden toys also be toxic? We're diving in!

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Wooden toys is loved by children, but is it safe and? Research by the NVWA shows that wooden toys on the Dutch market are safe for children. The research mainly focused on trains, wagons and beech wood toys.

But is it still wise to be careful?

Can wooden toys be toxic?

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Research reveals the truth about wooden toys

In the period from November to December, the NVWA investigated wooden toys that are offered on the Dutch consumer market. She mainly focused on train tracks (at least these are good wooden sets for kids) and chariots of beech wood. The products were tested for the presence of harmful substances such as heavy metals, chromium VI and tin III.

Results of the study

The study showed that a caveat regarding the safety of wooden toys is in order. Some of the products tested did not meet the legal requirements. For example, some painted and varnished toys have contained chemicals that are unsuitable for children.

Shops and webshops under the microscope

The NVWA has inspected both physical stores and web shops. Products were found at a number of stores that did not meet the requirements. In some cases, the products even lacked a label with address information, which is required by law.

What does this mean for you as a consumer?

It is important to know that there are wooden toys on the market that are not safe for children. Therefore, pay close attention to the following things when buying wooden toys:

  • Check whether the product has a CE mark and quality marks such as the FSC quality mark.
  • Preferably buy toys from well-known brands and from reliable shops or webshops.
  • Pay attention to the age for which the toy is intended and whether it is suitable for your child.

Pay attention to the paint: harmful substances can lurk

If your child plays with wooden toys, you naturally want it to be safe. You prefer to keep your child away from harmful substances. Unfortunately, the lacquer of wooden toys can contain harmful substances. These substances can be released during play and come into contact with your child. It is therefore important to know what to look for when buying wooden toys.

Which harmful substances can occur in the paint?

The varnish of wooden toys can contain various harmful substances, such as:

  • Chrysene: a carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)
  • Benzidine: a component of dye that can also be harmful

Of course you don't want these substances near your child. Fortunately, there are ways to check that the toys you buy are safe.

How do you know if the wooden toys are safe?

To make sure that the wooden toys you buy are safe, you can pay attention to a number of things:

  • CE marking: check whether the toy meets the general safety requirements
  • Labels: see if the toy has a label, such as the FSC label for responsible forest management
  • Brands: choose well-known brands that are known for their safe products
  • Odour: Does the toy have a strong smell of paint or chemicals? Then it might be better not to buy it

The meaning of CE marking and quality marks for wooden toys

De CE mark is a legal obligation within the European Union (EU) that indicates that a product meets European safety and quality requirements. If you are looking for wooden toys, it is important to check whether the product has this marking. This indicates that the toy has been checked and is sufficiently safe for use by children.

The role of manufacturers in CE marking

Manufacturers are responsible for affixing the CE marking to their products. They must ensure that the toy meets the legal requirements and standards used by the EU. If a producer wants to sell his products in the EU, he must make a declaration stating that the product meets all requirements. This means that if you buy wooden toys with a CE mark, you can trust that the manufacturer has done their best to produce a safe product.

Approvals: an extra guarantee of safety

In addition to the CE marking, there are also quality marks that you may encounter on wooden toys. These quality marks are often awarded by independent organizations, such as TÜV Rheinland, which monitor the safety and quality of the toys. Some examples of labels are:

  • FSC (Forest Stewardship Council): This quality mark indicates that the wood for the toy comes from responsibly managed forests.
  • Öko-Test: This German quality mark tests products for harmful substances and environmental friendliness.
  • GS (Geprüfte Sicherheit): This seal of approval, also issued by TÜV Rheinland, guarantees that the product meets German and European safety standards.

How do you choose safe wooden toys with the right markings and quality marks?

When buying wooden toys, it is important to pay attention to the following:

  • Check if the toy has a CE mark. This indicates that the product meets European safety standards.
  • Check for hallmarks on the toys. These provide an extra guarantee for the safety and quality of the product.
  • Prefer toys produced in countries with strict safety standards, such as European countries or the United States.
  • Read reviews from other parents to see if they are satisfied with the quality and safety of the toy.

By following these tips, you can feel confident buying wooden toys that are safe for your children to play with.

Tips for buying wooden toys safely

When you are looking for safe wooden toys (we've reviewed the best for babies here), it is wise to choose European manufacturers. In the EU there are strict rules and legislation regarding the safety of toys. This increases the chance that the toy meets the requirements and does not contain any harmful substances. Brands such as Hape are known for their quality and safety.

Pay attention to quality marks and certificates

When buying wooden toys, it is important to pay attention to quality marks and certificates. An independent party then checks whether the toy meets the safety requirements. This way you can be sure that the toys are safe for your child to play with.

Check the materials used

Pay attention to the materials used when choosing wooden toys. Go for toys made from sustainable wood, sourced from responsibly managed forests. This is not only better for the environment, but also ensures that the toy is safe for your child. Avoid toys with sharp edges or small parts that could become detached.

Pay attention to the composition of the paint and glue

The paint and glue used in the production of wooden toys may contain harmful substances. Therefore, choose toys where the manufacturer clearly states that safe, non-toxic paint and glue have been used.

Read reviews from other parents

A good way to know if wooden toys are safe is to read reviews from other parents. They have already tested the toy in practice and can tell you whether it is suitable for your child. Pay attention to both positive and negative experiences.

Stimulate your child's development

Wooden toys are not only fun, but can also contribute to your child's development. Choose toys that stimulate creativity, counting, recognition of shapes, sizes and colors. This way your child not only has fun, but also learns in a playful way.

Try the toy for yourself

Finally, it's always a good idea to try out the toy for yourself before buying. This way you can experience for yourself whether the toy is safe and suitable for your child. Take your child to the store and let them play with the toy themselves, so that you can be sure that it is a good choice.

By observing these tips, you ensure that you buy safe wooden toys for your child. This way your child can play and learn endlessly, without you having to worry about any harmful substances.

Safety of wooden toys from China

When you buy wooden toys, you naturally want them to be safe for your child. But what about toys that come straight from China? The NVWA cannot act against products that consumers buy directly from China, so it is especially important to pay attention to safety. Fortunately, all painted wooden toys meet the researched safety requirements for metals. So sucking on the paint poses no risk to children.

What should you pay attention to when buying wooden toys from China?

To ensure that your wooden toys are safe, there are a number of things you can pay attention to:

  • Choose toys with a plant-based coating and adhesive. This prevents your child from ingesting harmful substances when sucking on the toy.
  • Look for quality marks and certificates that indicate that the toy meets the correct safety requirements.
  • Check whether the wood comes from responsibly felled rubber trees. This ensures a better environment and makes the toys more sustainable.

Why is it important to choose safe wooden toys?

Choosing safe wooden toys is important for the following reasons:

  • You want to prevent your child from coming into contact with harmful substances, such as toxic paint or glue.
  • Safe toys provide a better playing experience for your child, without worrying about potential dangers.
  • By choosing responsibly produced wooden toys, you contribute to a better environment.


It is important to know that wooden toys are not always safe. It is important to check whether the toy has a CE mark and whether it has a quality mark from an independent organization such as the FSC or TÜV.

If you pay attention to these points, you can purchase a safe toy for your children.

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.