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Did Your Holiday Checklist include Safe Toys and Gifts?


12/28/2015

While it’s easy to get carried away with fulfilling holiday wish lists, gift-givers should always remember that presents should never pose a threat. Prevent Blindness America has declared December “Safe Toys and Gifts Month,” with a few consumer friendly tips in time that are handy for the busy holiday season—and all year round. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) also supports this mission through various standards related to toys from its members and accredited standards developers.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an ANSI member, reports that there was an estimated 251,800 emergency-department treated injuries attributed to toys in 2014. Most of the injuries were sustained by children younger than 15 years old. Toy safety ranges from preventative measures against dangerous to fatal consequences, including lead poisoning, choking, and even blindness, but reducing these numbers starts with educated consumers, who can keep a few toy selection guidelines in mind. Here are a few that were recently published by Prevent Blindness:

  • Ask yourself: is the toy is right for your child's ability and age?
  • Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.
  • Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off. Remember that BB guns are NOT toys.

The full Prevent Blindness list can be found and shared here.

Other preventative measures include HR 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) which references the American National Standard ASTM F963-11, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety. The standard was developed by ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator.

ANSI is also the U.S. member to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which has developed a series of standards – ISO 8124, Safety of toys –that provide guidelines for several aspects of toy safety:

  • ISO 8124-1:2014, Safety of toys - Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties
  • ISO 8124-2:2014, Safety of toys - Part 2: Flammability
  • ISO 8124-3:2010, Safety of toys -- Part 3: Migration of certain elements
  • ISO 8124-4:2014, Safety of Toys—Part 4:Swings, slides and similar activity toys for indoor and outdoor family domestic use
  • ISO 8124-5:2015, Safety of Toys—Part 5: Determination of total concentration of certain elements in toys.
  • ISO 8124-6:2014, Safety of Toys—Part 6: Certain phthalate esters in toys and childrens products
  • ISO 8124-7:2015, Safety of Toys—Part 7: Requirements and test methods for finger paints

These documents were developed by ISO technical committee (TC) 181, Safety of toys. The ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator for TC 181 is the Toy Industry Association (TIA).

Beyond toy safety, the Prevent Blindness list also suggests that parents check the lenses and frames of children's sunglasses to make sure they are in good condition. Fortunately, standards are also on hand to assure that child-sized sunglasses are both cute and safe. ANSI Z80.3-2010, Nonprescription Sunglass and Fashion Eyewear Requirements, provides guidance for most types of nonprescription sunglasses, as well as other types of related fashion eyewear. This American National Standard was developed by ANSI organizational member and accredited standards developer the Vision Council.

ANSI has this and other Safety Standards for Toys, Lighters and Other Consumer Products listed on its webstore.

AN INTRODUCTION TO STANDARDS: WHY, WHERE AND HOW ARE THEY DEVELOPED?