Selecting Safe Toys for Children: Electrical / Electronic Toys

In our digital age, technology is increasingly moving into the world of toys and games for children. These are often focused not just on fun, but also on the development of physical and intellectual skills of children. From encouraging actionable activities to challenging a child to think, feel, and react in new ways to promote positive qualities in our children.

The Risks

Toys that are improperly used or poorly designed can rapidly turn from a source of fun into a serious hazard. Toys that are defective, poorly constructed, mis-wired, or misused can shock or burn. Toys powered by electricity must meet mandatory safety requirements for maximum surface temperatures, electrical construction, and include prominent warning labels. Children should be taught to use such toys properly and be under adult supervision.

Batteries and battery fluid pose serious risks, including choking, internal bleeding, and chemical burns. So, battery-operated toys should have battery cases that secure with screws so that kids cannot pry them open.

Set Limits

Toys that use flashing lights, constant changes, and rapid movement are very appealing to children. However, children playing with such toys for an extended period may find it more challenging to focus on more mundane tasks such as reading or a toy that requires imagination.

Many child development experts recommend that children between ages 2 to 5 years play with electronic toys no more than 30 minutes at one time, and no more than one hour per day.

Among the reasons they cite include:

  • Reduces the quality of parent-child interaction
  • Over stimulation
  • Often the toys are very sedentary
  • Decreases creativity and imaginative play
  • Reduces interaction with other children

There is no single solution for every family or situation, but as the child grows, use can grow incrementally as well. However, if the parent spends all day on a digital device, it is hard to imagine a child learning differently. The parent’s example and interaction with the child can have a profound influence on the choices a child makes as it grows.

Regulations and Standards

Electronic toys must meet the following regulations and standards to ensure safety when used by children:

  • International: ISO 8124, IEC 62115
  • China: GB 19865
  • USA: CPSIA, ASTM F 963, California Proposition 65
  • EU/EEA: Directive 2009/48/EC, EN 62115
  • Australia / New Zealand: AS/NZS 62115

Compulsory markings

Electrical and electronic toys sold in many countries must bear the specific marking for that country or territory including:

  • China: CCC Mark
  • USA: FCC logo (toys subject to a Declaration of Conformity)
  • EU/EEA: CE marking (safety requirements in Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC)
  • Australia / New Zealand: RCM Mark (RF or radio-controlled toys)