TOY SAFETY FACTS
Toy safety is the top priority of the toy industry --- and we work year-round with parents and other caregivers to create a “toy safety partnership” that will protect children at play. Check out some of the facts and figures about toy safety in the United States:
- Approximately 3 billion toys are sold in the United States each year.
- All toys sold in the U.S. – regardless of where they are made – must conform to the most extensive, effective and widely emulated toy safety standards in the world.
- The toy industry has long been a leader in the area of toy safety, dating back to the early 1930s. This is a role and commitment that continues today.
- The primary U.S. toy safety standards are the Code of Federal Regulations, Commercial Practices 16 (16CFR) and the ASTM F963 toy safety standard – both are federal law.
- The ASTM F963 standard, which was first created in 1976 and has been maintained continuously, became mandatory under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) approved by Congress in 2008.
- U.S. toy safety standards are shaped by a variety of considerations, including research on child development, dynamic safety testing and risk analyses.
- Less than one third of one percent (.0029%) of toys sold in the U.S. were recalled in 2012.
- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – the federal agency responsible for enforcing safety regulations on more than 15,000 consumer products – consistently lists toys among the 15 safest consumer products commonly found in the home.
- The vast majority of recalls are voluntary – meaning they are initiated by the toymakers themselves, not enforced by the government.
DESIGNED FOR SAFETY
Most shoppers would likely be surprised to learn about all the safety-related work that goes on behind the scenes throughout the toy design, development, testing, production and delivery processes.
Toy design is truly more than just fun and games – it’s very serious business. Incorporating information from parents, psychologists, educators, and child development specialists, toy designers seek to understand how kids learn through play and at what age they are physically and cognitively ready for certain types of toys.
Some of the basic steps in the toy design process include:
- Applying Age-Appropriate Safety Guidelines: The process designers use to age-grade a toy is very sophisticated. The guidelines are developed and constantly updated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- Enlisting Outside Experts: In addition to the engineers and specialists on staff, toy companies rely on guidelines and testing by outside experts, such as designers, toxicologists, pediatricians, chemists, child psychologists, ophthalmologists and other specialists.
- Calling All Kids: One of the most informative aspects of the design process is when children are first asked to play with a new toy. In controlled test settings, children are observed playing with toys to assess durability and age-appropriateness.
Design is the beginning, not the end, of the toy safety story.
TESTING FOR SAFETY
Did you know that there are actually 100 different types of toy safety tests?
Safety testing occurs throughout the manufacturing process, and is conducted by accredited testing engineers who are specifically trained in the rigorous U.S. toy safety requirements. Specialized testing is performed on toys that are picked randomly off the production line, both in the plant and off-site.
Because all toys sold in America – regardless of where they are made – must conform to tough U.S. safety standards, toy companies frequently conduct unannounced inspections in foreign/overseas manufacturing plants (such as those in China) and demand assurances that the products coming from suppliers’ factories (e.g., materials and subcomponents obtained from other sources) meet all U.S. safety standards. Toys are also randomly tested before they are exported to the U.S.
Safety testing doesn’t stop when toys leave the manufacturing plant. Toy companies continue to conduct tests on random samples of toy products pulled from warehouses (where toys are stored before being shipped to stores). Testing takes place in both company labs and in independent laboratories.
As an additional step, many manufacturers, retailers and importers also spot-test products before putting them on store shelves … and sometimes even re-test items already on store shelves.
The U.S. toy industry invests hundreds of millions of dollars annually to assure the integrity of the world’s strongest toy safety system. You can learn more about the types of tests the industry uses to evaluate toys while they are in the production and delivery stages by following the links below:
The toy industry will continue to work with others who share our “24/7 Commitment” to safe and fun play!