The Toy Association Statement on Counterfeit Toys & Safe Shopping

Consumers have every reason to trust the safety of the three billion toys sold in America each year. All toys sold in the U.S., regardless of where they are made, must comply with strict U.S. standards – and it is the responsibility of the companies selling products in this country to make sure that those toys are safe. Required testing and certification by government-accredited, independent testing laboratories verifies a toy’s compliance with our country’s strict federal regulations.

Whether shopping online or in store, consumers should make sure they are buying from a reputable seller. Toys sold by legitimate and known sellers are tested for compliance with the U.S.’s 100+ strict standards and tests, including: stringent limits for lead and other chemicals, a highly effective small parts regulation developed with the help of pediatricians, and requirements to the ensure the sturdiness and reliability of toys, among many others. Toys sold by legitimate sellers will comply with these requirements. Unfortunately, not all sellers are created equal and a minority may not comply with government requirements.

Families should exercise due diligence when shopping for toys online (including on popular marketplace sites where numerous sellers operate on a vast platform) by always being aware of exactly where, and from which seller, they are purchasing toys. The Toy Association encourages shoppers to spend a few extra minutes digging deeper into a lesser-known online seller’s history, by searching for the company’s website and mission statement, and carefully reading reviews. If they can’t find a website for the manufacturer or seller at hand, it’s considered to be a red flag. Multiple grammatical errors in a product description or review or poorly photoshopped pictures are another red flag.

Another way for gift-givers to ensure they are purchasing legitimate, safe toys is by visiting a brand’s website, and following the provided links to official retailers selling their products. Or, if the option is provided, it is advised to purchase the toy from the brand’s site directly.

We all want to find a good deal on a toy, but safety comes first. If a deal seems too good to be true, the product might be a counterfeit or imitation. A fake toy or cheaper alternative might be unsafe. It’s just not worth the risk.

The Toy Association and its members work year-round with government agencies and leading e-commerce platforms to combat the issue of counterfeit products.

This statement was reaffirmed by The Toy Association in September 2020.