Like many toddlers, our son LOVES Thomas the Train toys. Yes, they are made in China and have had safety issues. As much as we try to make the safest choices for our kids, as they get older it becomes more and more difficult to avoid toys made in China! What we can do though is educate ourselves on the manufacturing process and quality standards of the product companies we are choosing to support.
We have purchased a few of the wooden set trains and have received various wooden track pieces and sets as gifts. We have never purchased second hand but are aware that there are often good deals on used Thomas sets on craigslist.org and other websites. If you are interested in purchasing used sets, please be aware that there were 2 recalls in 2007 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission of various Thomas the Train figures due to excessive lead paint.
One of the recalls includes five toys from the Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway product line: the all-black cargo car, toad vehicle, olive green sodor cargo box and all-green maple tree top and signal base accessories. The front of the packaging has the logo “Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway” in the upper left-hand corner. A tracking code may be located on the bottom of some of the products.
The second recall is more extensive and the listing of items can be found on the RC2 Corporation’s website (maker of Thomas the Train). Note that RC2 was acquired by Tomy Corporation in 2011 so you may be redirected to their website. The Tomy Corporation has indicated on their website that they have implemented a “Multi-Check Safety System” to ensure that they are performing more thorough testing. In particular they state that ”Mandatory paint control procedures for contract manufacturers, including certified independent lab test results of every batch of wet paint before the paint is released for production.”