Wood is many things! Most of the species used in building are not toxic.
Offgassing, chewing, or splinters?
Maple, oak, and pine are fine, but your need to be a little more specific with your question.
Are you concerned with off-gassing, chewing, or splinters?
- Since we are trying to lead people away from using redwood anyway, I am happy to report that redwood splinters are not pleasant.
- I am also happy to report that rarely will you find things made from the cashew tree, which shares the family and some parts have the same toxin as poison oak.
Beware wood finishes
Natural wood is normally very safe but the finishes put on the wood are a whole other ballgame. That is where you have to do research into the product you are buying and verify it has a low VOC (volatile organic compounds) count and is free of other toxins.
Symptoms from exposure to VOCs look like allergic reactions, and can lead respiratory problems and other serious health issues.I would recommend reviewing:
- Environment California's Report 'Toxic Baby Furniture', released in 2008.
- I also recommend the article "How to reduce toxins and 'green' your baby's nursery" by Laura Sevier.
For more information:
Read "Which wood finishes are safe to use on children's furniture?" a Q&A answered by Piper Kujac.