Hi, Anna. Honestly, the biggest problem with strippers is not using them correctly. I use an environmentally safe, non-toxic stripper called Citristrip usually. With Citristrip, it helps to be lazy. You put it on, wait for the paint to bubble, and remove it. This can take anywhere from a half hour to a day or 2. This will not hurt the wood but do keep pets and kids away since it can give you a chemical burn. Be sure to wear gloves (more that the thin latex ones) and eye protection while you are using it.
I know of one person that had a problem and left it on for 5 days. Didn't hurt the wood but it was hard to get off. Peel Away is caustic based and you normally leave that on for a day or 2. It is really great on multiple paint layers. It comes with a special paper that you cover it with while it is working.
The whole secret with strippers is to let them do the work. Don't rush it and you will have no problem. There is only one exception and that is milk paint, normally found only on very old pieces. It has a different chemistry than our paints today and our normal strippers will not touch it, but there are special ones that will.