FAQs: Safety Standard for Children's Toys

 

The following FAQs are in addition to the FAQs about toy safety available here.

 

What are the effective dates for the toy safety standard?

 

Children's toys manufactured after June 12, 2012 must comply with all mandatory sections of the recently revised ASTM F963-11.  Therefore, if you are a manufacturer or importer of toys, you must test your children's toys for compliance with the toy safety standard and the required testing must be conducted by a CPSC-accepted laboratory. See footnotes 1,2,3 

 

Third party testing is required for the specific sections of the toy safety standard outlined in the "notice of requirements" and only for those toys designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age and younger.4 There are other sections of the toy safety standard that do not require third party testing. Nevertheless, for those sections of the toy standard, the manufacturer still must: (i) ensure that the toy is compliant with those sections, and also (ii) certify compliance with those sections.

 

After a product is tested for compliance with the mandatory toy standard, the manufacturer, private labeler, or importer must issue a children's product certificate in which it certifies, in writing, compliance of the toy to that mandatory toy standard.

 

Is the requirement to test and certify children's toys retroactive?

 

No. The requirement to test and certify all covered toys to ASTM F963-11 only applies to those toys manufactured on or after June 12, 2012.   Toys manufactured between January 1, 2012 through June 12, 2012 must have been tested and certified to ASTM F963-08. 

 

Does every section of the toy safety standard apply to every toy?

 

No. The toy safety standard is a lengthy document that contains provisions for many different types and classes of toys. Many of the standard's sections may not apply to a particular product, but there are likely to be many sections that do apply. For example, if your toy does not produce any sound, it would not need to comply with the section of the toy standard that tests how loud a sound the toy makes, but there are still many other provisions of the toy standard that may apply to your toy. Because different toys have different characteristics, materials, and functions, every toy needs to be reviewed individually to determine what sections of the toy safety standard are applicable. There are too many possible combinations of applicable sections of the toy safety standard to review all of them here. You should review the standard carefully and feel free to contact us if you have any questions. It also may be helpful to consult with a testing laboratory on which sections of the standard apply to your children's product or toy.

 

Additional guidance and information from the CPSC will be made available as it is released at www.cpsc.gov/toysafety.

 

Do warning labels, written instruction manuals, or other producer’s markings on a product or the product’s packaging require testing by a CPSC-accepted laboratory?

 

No. In addition, the sections of ASTM F963-11 that involve assessments conducted by the unaided eye and without any sort of tool or device do not require testing by a CPSC-accepted laboratory. See the complete list of sections that require third party testing described in the table below. If a section from ASTM F963-11 is not listed there, then third party testing is not required.

 

 

For which age groups (i.e., the product's intended users) is third party testing and certification of toys required?

Toys intended or designed primarily for children 12 years of age and younger must be subjected to third party testing and certification at CPSC-accepted laboratories.

 

Although ASTM F 963-11 technically applies to toys intended for use by children under 14 years of age, the third party testing requirement only pertains to toys intended or designed primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. In other words:

 

 -If the toy is intended or designed for children 14 years of age or older, then ASTM F963-08 does not apply to the toy and it need not be tested by a third party laboratory.

 

-If the toy is intended or designed for children 13 years of age, then the toy is still subject to the requirements in ASTM F963-11, but you are not required to have the toy tested by a third party laboratory. (Few toys are likely to fall within this category.)

 

-If the toy is intended or designed primarily for children 12 years of age or younger, then the toy is subject to the requirements in ASTM F963-11 and you must have the toy tested by a third party laboratory.

 

Certain sections of the toy safety standard are exempted from the third party testing requirement, as outlined below. For those toys for which third party testing is required, the testing must be conducted by an accredited third party laboratory whose accreditation is accepted by the CPSC.

 

Are toys required to be tested to meet flammability requirements?

 

No. Congress did not include flammability requirements and third party testing for flammability of toys when it made the toy safety standard mandatory in 2008.

 

However, a children’s toy─during its customary and reasonably foreseeable handling or use─cannot be a hazardous substance that may cause substantial personal injury or substantial illness during, or as a proximate result of, being a highly flammable or extremely flammable solid. This requirement, which is from the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, does not require premarket, third party testing from a CPSC-accepted laboratory.

 

To sell such a product, a manufacturer should have a basis for the decision to test or not test a product for flammability characteristics. The basis may be the expected pattern of “customary and reasonably foreseeable handling or use.” Or, the basis may be pre-existing knowledge that the materials used in a product are known not to be particularly flammable based on testing done under similar standards, such as the listing of certain materials in the wearing apparel flammability standard (16 C.F.R. § 1610.1(d)), such as polyester, which do not require testing due to experience gained from years of testing in accordance with the standard.

 

If a manufacturer is uncertain, or wishes to test the product to be certain it is not highly flammable, 16 C.F.R. § 1500.44 is an appropriate test method to use, and the test method provided in Annex A5 of ASTM F963-11 is also another appropriate test method.

 

 

 

Do all sections of the toy safety standard require third party testing?

No, only certain provisions of the toy safety standard outlined in the "notice of requirements" require third party testing. The sections of the toy safety standard that require third party testing are as follows:

 

ASTM F 963-07ε1

Section 4.27 - Toy Chests (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)

 

ASTM F 963-11

  • Section 4.3.5.1, Surface Coating Materials - Soluble Test for Metals
  • Section 4.3.5.2, Toy Substrate Materials 
  • Section 4.3.6.3, Cleanliness of Liquids, Pastes, Putties, Gels, and Powders (except for cosmetics and tests on formulations used to prevent microbial degradation)
  • Section 4.3.7, Stuffing Materials
  • Section 4.5, Sound Producing Toys
  • Section 4.6, Small Objects (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.7, Accessible Edges (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.8, Projections
  • Section 4.9, Accessible Points (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.10, Wires or Rods
  • Section 4.11, Nails and Fasteners
  • Section 4.12, Packaging Film
  • Section 4.13, Folding Mechanisms and Hinges
  • Section 4.14, Cords, Straps, and Elastics
  • Section 4.15, Stability and Overload Requirements
  • Section 4.16, Confined Spaces
  • Section 4.17, Wheels, Tires, and Axles
  • Section 4.18, Holes, Clearances, and Accessibility of Mechanisms
  • Section 4.19, Simulated Protective Devices (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.20.1, Pacifiers with Rubber Nipples/Nitrosamine Test
  • Section 4.20.2, Toy Pacifiers
  • Section 4.21, Projectile Toys
  • Section 4.22, Teethers and Teething Toys
  • Section 4.23.1, Rattles with Nearly Spherical, Hemispherical, or Circular Flared Ends
  • Section 4.24, Squeeze Toys
  • Section 4.25, Battery-Operated Toys (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.26, Toys Intended to Be Attached to a Crib or Playpen (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.27, Stuffed and Beanbag-Type Toys
  • Section 4.30, Toy Gun Marking
  • Section 4.32, Certain Toys with Spherical Ends
  • Section 4.35, Pompoms
  • Section 4.36, Hemispheric-Shaped Objects
  • Section 4.37, Yo-Yo Elastic Tether Toys
  • Section 4.38, Magnets (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.39, Jaw Entrapment in Handles and Steering Wheels

 

The sections of the toy safety standard that DO NOT require third party testing are as follows:

• The sections of ASTM F 963-11 that address food and cosmetics, products traditionally outside the Commission's jurisdiction.

• The sections of ASTM F 963-11 pertaining to the manufacturing process, and thus, cannot be evaluated meaningfully by a test of the finished product (e.g., the purified water provision at section 4.3.6.1).

• Requirements for labeling, instructional literature, or producer's markings in ASTM F 963-11 or section 4.27 of ASTM F 963-07ε1.

o Generally, the Commission has stated that it will not require third party testing and certification for certain labeling and technical requirements. For example, neither the labeling requirements under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (15 U.S.C. 1261−1278), nor the labeling requirements under the Flammable Fabrics Act (15 U.S.C. 1191−1204) require a product to undergo third party testing.

• The sections of ASTM F 963-11 that involve assessments that are conducted by the unaided eye and without any sort of tool or device.

• Section 4.3.8 of ASTM F 963-11, pertaining to a specific phthalate, because section 108 of the CPSIA specifically addresses phthalates and will be the subject of a separate notice of requirements.

 

Do all sections of the toy safety standard require certification?

 

Yes. Although certain sections of the toy safety standard are exempted from third party testing, toys must be certified as being fully compliant with all applicable sections of the toy safety standard. For the applicable sections of the toy safety standard that are exempt from third party testing, manufacturers are expected to test each product or ensure that the product has been subjected to a reasonable testing program. (For convenience, some manufacturers may choose to have laboratories test the toy for compliance with those exempted sections, although it is not a requirement that they do so.) Some sections on labeling and technical requirements, discussed above, cannot be tested and, therefore, testing is not required.

 

 

What are the key changes in the newest version of the CPSC's toy safety standard ASTM F963-11.

 

The primary changes in the 2011 version of ASTM F963 include adding limits for the soluble amount of eight metals (antimony, arsenic, lead, barium, cadmium, chromium, mercury, and selenium) permitted in toy substrates. This requirement is in addition to the limits that already exist for surface coatings on toys and the specific limits on total lead content and lead in paint and other surface coatings. The new requirement is based on the soluble limits of eight metals (listed above) after a solubility test in dilute acid. In addition, the new standard provides an optional screening test procedure that is based on the total concentration of those elements in a single test and is determined by digesting the samples completely, in hot, concentrated, strong acids, using methods based on CPSC-approved test methods for lead content. If the screening test shows passing results for the various elements in a predetermined range, the results may be relied upon, in certain circumstances, without further testing for solubility of the elements.

 

Another major addition to the 2011 version of ASTM F963 are the requirements for bath toys that are intended to address the potential puncture or other hazards that may be presented by vertical, or nearly vertical, rigid projections on bath toys.

 

Finally, there are many other revisions to existing sections of ASTM F963, such as changes made on the use of cords, the requirements for squeeze toys attached to rings, yo-yo tether balls, straps and elastics, jaw entrapment, toys with spherical ends, and the stability of ride-on toys.

 

Must all accessible substrates be tested for total lead and soluble heavy metals as specificed in ASTM F963-11?

Not necessarily. While Section 4.3.5.2(1) of ASTM F963-11 says that the accessible substrates and all small parts must be tested for total lead and eight soluble heavy metals, the term "accessible" is defined in 4.3.5.2(1)(a), and it is very important to determine whether your toy is subject to this additional requirement.

 

First, "accessible" is defined in section 3.1.2 of ASTM F963-11, and a toy must be examined for accessible parts both before and after age-appropriate use and abuse testing.

 

Second, for the purpose of this definition, only toys or the parts of toys that can be sucked, mouthed, or ingested - both before and after age-appropriate use and abuse testing - need to be tested for the eight soluble heavy metals . This means that toys or parts of toys that, due to their inaccessibility, size, mass, function, or other characteristics, cannot be sucked, mouthed, or ingested are not required to be tested for the soluble metals listed above. However, compliance with total lead content limits for such items still may be required under the CPSIA, if they are accessible to touch.

 

The following criteria are considered reasonable for the classification of toys that are likely to be sucked, mouthed, or ingested: (1) all toy parts intended to be mouthed or contact food or drink, components of toys which are cosmetics, and components or writing instruments categorized as toys; (2) toys intended for children less than 6 years of age, where there is a probability that the parts or components of the toy would come into contact with the mouth. See Note 3 of Section 4.3.5.2(1)(a).

 

Therefore, if your product is age-graded as intended for use for children age 6 years and above, and is not likely to be sucked, mouthed, or ingested, it does not need to be tested for the eight metals. Remember that regardless of this analysis, the CPSIA requires that all accessible components of children's products meet the lead content requirement of 100 ppm.

 

Section 4.3.5.2(1) states that the accessible substrates in toys (including accessible glass, metal, and ceramic toys or small parts of toys) are subject to the limits set forth in Table 1 of F963-11, which specifies, among other requirements, a limit of 75 parts per million of soluble cadmium content (or 50 parts per million for modeling clays that are part of toys). Yet, Section 4.3.5.2(2)(c) states that the soluble cadmium content limit is 200µg. What is the difference between these two requirements?

 

The test procedure for the requirement in section 4.3.5.2(1) is based on a 2-hour extraction period. Section 4.3.5.2(2)(c) specifically states that the section is in addition to the limits in Table 1 but only for metallic toys or metallic toy components that are small parts. That class of toys cannot exceed a value of 200 µg for total cadmium extracted from an item within a 24-hour period when tested per section 8.3.5.5(3). The section does note, however, that "Compliance with all of the above requirements may be established by a screen of total element content as specified in 8.3.1."

 

When did the newest version of the CPSC's toy safety standard, ASTM F963-11, take effect?

ASTM F963-11 took effect on June 12, 2012 for children's toys manufactured after that date.  

(The requirement to test and certify all covered toys to ASTM F963-08 only applies to those toys manufactured on or after January 1, 2012.)

Where can I find the official Commission notice about certification and third party testing requirements?

 

The Commission has issued a final rule (search PDF for "963") for laboratories to test certain toys under the toy safety standard, ASTM F 963-11 (for all toys designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age and younger) and for toy chests pursuant to one section of ASTM F 963-07ε1 (collectively, the "toy safety standard").

Relevant sections of the sections for which third-party testing are excerpted further below on this page. 

For future updates to ASTM F963, what happens when ASTM International submits proposed revision(s) to the Commission regarding the ASTM F963 toy standard currently in effect?

 

When ASTM International notifies the Commission of proposed revision(s) to ASTM F-963, the Commission has 90 days from the date of notification to inform ASTM International if it determines that the proposed revision(s) does not improve the safety of the consumer product covered by the standard. If the Commission does inform ASTM International of its determination that the proposed revision(s) does not improve safety, the existing ASTM F963 standard continues in effect as a consumer product safety rule, regardless of the proposed revision(s). If the Commission does not respond to ASTM International within 90 days regarding the proposed revision(s) to ASTM F963, 90 days later (180 days total after notification by ASTM International), the proposed revision(s) becomes effective as a consumer product safety rule.

 

 


 

1 Technically referred to as "third party conformity assessment bodies" in the "notice of requirements."
2 Note that while compliance with the toy safety standard is required for toys intended for use by children under 14 years of age, third party testing is required only for toys designed or intended primarily for for children 12 years of age and younger. The term "toy safety standard" is used throughout this document primarily in regards to the third party testing requirements for those toys designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age and younger.
3 Laboratories will apply for acceptance by the CPSC based on the issuance of the "notice of requirements." Thereafter, laboratories that are accepted by the CPSC to test to the mandatory toy standard will be listed on the CPSC's website
4 All toys designed for use by children under 14 years of age must either be tested or subjected to a reasonable testing program but it is not required that such toys be subjected to third party testing.
5 The second half of this summary contains a detailed explanation of a children's product certificate of conformity (referred to as a "children's product certificate").
6 Applies to toys designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age and younger. For toys designed for use by children under 14 years of age, those toys must either be tested or subjected to a reasonable testing program.