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Soft Toy Safety Regulations: What You Need To Know

Stuffed toys are an extremely popular consumer good. The global stuffed animal & plush toys market size was valued at USD 7.98 billion in 2018 and is forecasted to have continuous growth year on year. 

However, there are several regulations in place to act as a safeguard to ensure product quality and safety are upheld within the market. Not only ensuring customers are satisfied with the products, but safe as well. 

This article aims to discuss these safety regulations and requirements needed within the stuffed toy industry market. 

Stuffed Toy Testing Specifications

Several specifications stuffed toys products need to follow to enter the market. Different countries have different regulations which must be adhered to, such as the EU, because of this, it is essential to keep up to date with governmental guidelines for your respected country. Some examples are:

  • EN71
  • ASTM F963
  • CPSIA2008
  • FDA
  • Canada CCPSA Toy Regulation ( SOR/2016-188/193/195)
  • AS/NZS ISO 8124

For this article, we will be covering the ASTM 963 specification as an example. 

ASTM 963

One of the most common toy safety standards which need to be followed is the ASTM F963, also named  “The Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety,” which encompasses all types of toys entering the United States. This guideline set out by the international standard body states that toys and children products must adhere to several chemicals, mechanical, and flammability standards, more details of these requirements are below: 

Mechanical testing

Mechanical testing allows for the toys to be stress-tested, giving clarity to the product’s durability through heavy use and movement such as being through and dropped. The level of testing is determined by the age rating which it has been given (e.g., 3-5). As well as this, other tests may be implemented, such as washability, material quality checks, and tension/compression tests to ensure that the products can withstand heavy or rough use. Individual part testing is also an essential function in mechanical testing, as if small parts break off of a toy. They can potentially become a severe hazard to children.  

Flammability testing

Within this standard, all products must be tested for their resistance to burning. This test is usually done with an open flame to ensure that the products have an acceptable burn rate. If the speed at which it burns is deemed unacceptable, then it will not pass. 

Chemical Testing

Chemical testing is also a vital aspect of the ASTM regulation. This function tests for eight different heavy metals on any surfaces that could be accessible to the mouth. The eight metals which are commonly tested for are:

  • arsenic 
  • antimony
  • cadmium 
  • barium
  • chromium
  • lead
  • mercury 
  • selenium

As well as this, other testing may also be required dependent on the regulation, for example,  phthalates, formaldehyde, AZO-Dye testing. This ensures that the products do not have any potentially harmful chemicals, which can cause long-term adverse effects on consumers’ health. 

These tests must be done to ensure that the goods comply with the regulations set out. It is important to note that this testing must be completed by a CPSC accepted testing facility (which HQTS provides) to ensure that the toys comply with the standard.

Labeling Requirements

As well as the manufacturing process for toy goods that need to be followed, there are strict labeling guidelines in place. Within this act it states that all labels must include:

Country of Origin

Within this marking, it must be clearly stated the country from which the product was imported. This must be clearly stated on the container of the product. An example of this would be if the product was imported from China, it would state “Made In China.” No other more specific details would be required, such as location within the country. 

Producer marking

As well as the country of origin, all products under the ASTM regulations must have a mark that clearly gives details to the name and address of the producer of the products. 

Age grading

All toys (including stuffed ones) must go under strict testing if they are recognized for use by children. Because of this, an age rating (e.g., 3-5+) must be added to the products to represent this. 

CPSIA Tracking label

This requirement states that all manufacturers must produce a tracking label/mark on all products regardless of international or internal export. A code can be placed on the product itself or on a label which can be a unique distinguisher of the product. 

Icons for washing

When adding labels into products, a transparent icon must be added that displays how the toy should be washed or any critical information that may impact its cleaning e.g., cold washes, etc. 

Different regulations for different countries

It is important to note that each country has different requirements when it comes to labeling. An example of this would be the addition of either the UKCA or EC markings which are needed to be used in products being imported to either the United Kingdom or the European Union. You must research your individual country’s requirements to further grasp the specific needs required regarding labeling. 

Children’s Product Certificate (CPC)

A CPC or Child Product Licence is required once a CPSC-certified laboratory has successfully inspected a stuffed toy. A CPC license gives a detailed report on the inspection results to ensure they are compliant with the requirements set out for the specific type of toy. 

The CPC must include: 

  • The safety requirements which are needed for the certificate 
  • Origin of the product
  • Manufacturers information
  • A product description 
  • Details of the laboratory in which the test was conducted

Note: a CPC license should be provided with every shipment of the toys. To gain more information on CPC’s visit the CPSC website

In conclusion, there are several regulations and 3rd party involvement required for toys to be deemed safe and allowed to be imported into countries. These requirements are unique to the individual country of entry. Because of this, laying out which countries you wish to export to is a crucial step to understanding the requirements which need to be complied with. 

HQTS has over 25 years of experience in industry-leading quality control for various industries, including children’s products. We provide rigorous testing from our CPSC accredited testing facility to ensure your goods comply with the chosen regulatory body. To learn more about this, contact us today

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