The holidays are fast approaching, and while adults appreciate this time of year for its cultural, religious, and sentimental significance, most children have their sights set on one exciting element of the season: presents! Giving children new toys is a staple of many winter holiday celebrations, and thanks to standards, gift-givers can be assured that these gifts are safe for their youngest loved ones.
The Toy Association, a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), provides updated information and links to toy safety rules and regulations on their website's U.S. Safety Standards page. Consumer safety and possible hazards of toys of all kind are outlined in ASTM F963-17, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, a mandatory set of safety rules and regulations for U.S. toymakers. Developed by ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator, this standard details hazards that may not be recognized readily by the public, and that may be encountered in normal use for which a toy is intended or after reasonably foreseeable abuse. In addition to baby toys like pacifiers, teethers, and rattles, the standard also addresses toys for older children including yo-yos, toy guns, and projectile toys.
Toys that use batteries to play music and make other sound effects may not be favorites of parents, but it's undeniable that many children prefer them to all other playthings. While noisy objects can be annoying, parents can rely on them to be safe thanks to standards like IEC 62115 Ed. 2.0 b:2017, Electric toys - Safety. This standard not only covers electric toys that make noise, but also other electric toys such as construction sets, experimental sets, or toy computers. It applies to toys that take power from any source, including batteries, transformers, solar cells, and inductive connectors. The International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) developed this document through TC 61, Safety of household and similar electrical appliances. The U.S. holds the secretariat for this technical committee (TC), with UL designated by ANSI as administrative secretariat and Randi Myers, UL, as secretary. UL, an ANSI member and audited designator, is also the ANSI-approved U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator for TC 61.
Buying gifts for a group of siblings? Consider a larger, shared gift that children of all ages can enjoy, such as playground-style climbing equipment. ISO 8124-4:2014, Safety of toys - Part 4: Swings, slides and similar activity toys for indoor and outdoor family domestic use, is one standard that offers requirements and test methods for activity toys including swings, slides, seesaws, carousels, rocking toys, climbing frames, and other products intended to bear the mass of one or more children.
For the child who has too many toys already, expendable items like craft supplies are a great choice. Standards assure that these supplies are non-toxic for budding artists. ISO 8124-7:2015, Safety of toys - Part 7: Requirements and test methods for finger paints, specifies requirements for finger paints, including the substances and materials used in them, markings, labelling, and containers.
These standards were developed by the International Organization for Standardization's Technical Committee (TC) 181, Safety of toys. The Toy Association is the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator to this TC.
With American and International standards in place, toys are as fun as they are safe for little ones, this holiday season and all year long.