The Toy Association Statement on Small Parts Regulation
The federally-mandated small parts regulation has been in place in the United States for more than four decades. It was established using research and expertise from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), child development and human factors experts, and members of the toy industry. The regulation takes into account the unique anatomy and behavior of children under three, who tend to mouth objects. The small parts gauge is intended to simulate the size and shape of a young child’s throat in order to identify items that may pose a choking hazard.
The small parts regulation has been continually reviewed by experts over the years and has been repeatedly found to be highly effective in preventing harm to children. In addition to the reaffirmations within the U.S., the requirement has been adopted around the world.
The most recent U.S. reaffirmation came in 2008, when Congress mandated the national standard for toy safety (ASTM F963) – and the federal small parts regulation that is repeated within the standard – as a consumer product safety rule. All toys sold in the United States must conform to this and all other tough federal safety standards.
Safety is the number one priority of the toy industry. U.S. toymakers are committed to ensuring the safety of the toys they produce. The small parts requirement is consistently regarded as one of the most effective toy safety measures ever designed. However, if experts and the government determined that the small parts regulation needed to be updated, The Toy Association and its members would support this effort.
The Toy Association provides free online resources to help ensure safe play for children, including tips for selecting age-appropriate toys, supervising play, making sure toys are used as intended, keeping young children away from toys that are intended for older children, and other simple but important guidelines for parents and caregivers. Additional information can be found online at PlaySafe.org.
This statement was reaffirmed by The Toy Association in September 2020.