Since its invention in the 1890’s, the Russian nesting doll has manifested itself in so many different ways it is not easily categorized. From prized collector’s item, to corporate promotional tool, to preschool teaching device and peasant folk toy, matryoshka has many incarnations and finds her way into many hands.
Given that Golden Cockerel tends to cater more to the collector than to the kid, our products are not primarily intended for children 12 years of age and under. That means they are not broadly defined as “toys.” We do understand, however, that nesting dolls attract all ages. We want our gifts and collectibles to be appropriate for young and old alike, and therefore have taken measures to have many of our less expensive nesting dolls comply with current US toy safety regulations.
Warning: Nesting dolls with small parts present a choking hazard.
The primary safety concern with nesting dolls is that many of them contain small parts that might cause an infant to choke. Therefore, very few nesting dolls are appropriate for children 3 years of age, or younger. Please do not let your children put nesting dolls into their mouths!
CPSIA and Lead in Paint
Of secondary concern is the fear that a child might chew on a nesting doll and thereby ingest some of the surface coatings (i.e. paints). In 2008, reacting to illegal Chinese imports, the US government enacted legislation which reduced permissible levels of lead in surface coatings on toys. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), as the law is known, also calls for a reasonable testing program to ensure importers are bringing safe toys into the country. This new law, aimed at large corporations, has caused quite a stir among small toy companies who will be forced out of business due to the costs of compliance.
Golden Cockerel uses non-toxic paints compliant with CPSIA.
At Golden Cockerel, we wholeheartedly believe in the spirit of toy safety regulations and take every reasonable measure to ensure the safety of the products we sell. We have tested the materials we use in production at our nesting doll workshop in St. Petersburg, Russia, and know them all to be lead-free. The paints we use are fully compliant with CPSIA standards. Furthermore, the non-toxic water-based lacquer which coats our nesting dolls provides a protective barrier between the paint and any child who might gnaw, suck, or chew on our products.
Nesting dolls made by Golden Cockerel are the safest you can find.
Most Russian collectibles are not made in a controlled environment. Traditionally, nesting dolls are products of an Old World cottage industry, where independent artists produce items in their homes using whatever materials they happen to have available at the moment. While those conditions may contribute to a nesting doll’s charm, they make it extremely difficult to regulate production with quality control, or to know if the paints used are suitable or not for the American toy market. Only by maintaining a professional production site, like the Golden Cockerel workshop, is one able to be certain what paints were used in production and to state with any reliability whether or not a nesting doll is compliant with toy safety standards. As of this writing, we are not aware of any other nesting doll manufacturer or importer who can vouch for the lead content in the paints they use.
Certified Child Friendly
One the one hand, we believe all of our products to be suitable for children, and would not hesitate to give any of them to our own children. On the other hand, the law requires each batch of toys be tested by a 3rd party laboratory to be sure they are “toy safe.” Such tests can cost well over $1000 per nesting doll set! And sometimes, as with our museum quality one-of-a-kind dolls, a “batch” consists entirely of one doll, or only a few, making it totally unfeasible to test. Since our main focus is selling collectibles, not toys, we have no need to go bankrupt testing items not primarily intended for young children. To help ultra-concerned shoppers know which items in the Golden Cockerel on-line store are ideally suited for children, and the toy industry, we have designated certain items as “Certified Child Friendly.” To qualify for this designation, the item must be painted at the Golden Cockerel workshop (not cottage industry) with paints that we have certified as non-toxic through expensive 3rd party testing. Furthermore, the item may not have attachments (such as legs, fins, or ears, etc.) which might break off under stress and produce sharp edges.
Golden Cockerel nesting dolls have passed flammability tests.
As part of the toy standards testing, our nesting dolls underwent flammability tests and were proven not to be a fire hazard. Thank goodness!