Cpsc Age Grading Guidelines For Essays

§ 1200.2 Definition of children's product.

(a)Definition of “Children's Product” - (1) Under section 3(a)(2) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), a children's product means a consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. The term “designed or intended primarily” applies to those consumer products mainly for children 12 years old or younger. Whether a product is primarily intended for children 12 years of age or younger is determined by considering the four specified statutory factors. These factors are:

(i) A statement by a manufacturer about the intended use of such product, including a label on such product if such statement is reasonable.

(ii) Whether the product is represented in its packaging, display, promotion, or advertising as appropriate for use by children 12 years of age or younger.

(iii) Whether the product is commonly recognized by consumers as being intended for use by a child 12 years of age or younger.

(iv) The Age Determination Guidelines issued by the Commission staff in September 2002 and any successor to such guidelines.

(2) The examples discussed herein may also be illustrative in making such determinations; however, the determination of whether a product meets the definition of a children's product depends on factual information that may be unique to each product and, therefore, would need to be made on a case-by-case basis. The term “for use” by children 12 years or younger generally means that children will physically interact with such products based on the reasonably foreseeable use of such product. Toys and articles that are subject to the small parts regulations at 16 CFR Part 1501 and in ASTM F963 would fall within the definition of children's product since they are intended for children 12 years of age or younger. Toys and other articles intended for children up to 96 months (8 years old) that are subject to the requirements at 16 CFR 1500.48 through 1500.49 and 16 CFR 1500.50 through 1500.53 would similarly fall within the definition of children's product given their age grading for these other regulations. Therefore, a manufacturer could reasonably conclude on the basis of the age grading for these other regulations that its product also must comply with all requirements applicable to children's products including, but not limited to, those under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, ASTM F963, “Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety,” and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

(b)Definition of “General Use Product” - (1) A general use product means a consumer product that is not designed or intended primarily for use by children 12 years old or younger. General use products are those consumer products designed or intended primarily for consumers older than age 12. Some products may be designed or intended for use by consumers of all ages, including children 12 years old or younger, but are intended mainly for consumers older than 12 years of age. Examples of general use products may include products with which a child would not likely interact, or products with which consumers older than 12 would be as likely, or more likely to interact. Products used by children 12 years of age or younger that have a declining appeal for teenagers are likely to be considered children's products.

(2) Other products are specifically not intended for children 12 years of age or younger. These products, such as cigarette lighters, candles, and fireworks, which the Commission has traditionally warned adults to keep away from children, are not subject to the CPSIA's lead limits, tracking label requirement, and third-party testing and certification provisions. Similarly, products that incorporate performance requirements for child resistance are not children's products as they are designed specifically to ensure that children cannot access the contents. This would include products such as portable gasoline containers and special packaging under the Poison Prevention Packaging Act.

(c)Factors Considered - To determine whether a consumer product is primarily intended for a child 12 years of age or younger the four specified statutory factors must be considered together as a whole. The following four factors must be considered:

(1) A statement by a manufacturer about the intended use of such product, including a label on such product if such statement is reasonable. A manufacturer's statement about the product's intended use, including the product's label, should be reasonably consistent with the expected use patterns for a product. A manufacturer's statement that the product is not intended for children does not preclude a product from being regulated as a children's product if the primary appeal of the product is to children 12 years of age or younger, as indicated, for example, by decorations or embellishments that invite use by the child, being sized for a child or being marketed to appeal primarily to children. Similarly, a label indicating that a product is for ages 9 and up does not necessarily make it a children's product if it is a general use product. Such a label may recommend 9 years old as the earliest age for a prospective user, but may or may not indicate the age for which the product is primarily intended. The manufacturer's label, in and of itself, is not considered to be determinative.

(2) Whether the product is represented in its packaging, display, promotion, or advertising as appropriate for use by children 12 years of age or younger.

(i) These representations may be express or implied. For example, advertising by the manufacturer expressly declaring that the product is intended for children 12 years of age or younger will support a determination that a product is a children's product. While, for example advertising by the manufacturer showing children 12 years of age or younger using the product may support a determination that the product is a children's product. These representations may be found in packaging, text, illustrations and/or photographs depicting consumers using the product, instructions, assembly manuals, or advertising media used to market the product.

(ii) The product's physical location near, or visual association with, children's products may be a factor in making an age determination, but is not determinative. For example, a product displayed in a children's toy section of a store may support a determination that the product is a children's product. However, where that same product is also sold in department stores and marketed for general use, further evaluation would be necessary. The Commission recognizes that manufacturers do not necessarily control where a product will be placed in a retail establishment and such lack of control will be considered. The Commission evaluates products more broadly than on a shelf-by-shelf or store-by-store basis.

(iii) The product's association or marketing in conjunction with nonchildren's products may not be determinative as to whether the product is a children's product. For example, packaging and selling a stuffed animal with a candle would not preclude a determination that the stuffed animal is a children's product since stuffed animals are commonly recognized as being primarily intended for children.

(3) Whether the product is commonly recognized by consumers as being intended for use by children 12 years of age or younger. Consumer perception of the product's use by children, including its reasonably foreseeable use, will be evaluated. Sales data, market analyses, focus group testing, and other marketing studies may help support an analysis regarding this factor.

(i) Features and Characteristics - additional considerations that may help distinguish children's products from nonchildren's products include:

(A) Small sizes that would not be comfortable for the average adult;

(B) Exaggerated features (large buttons, bright indicators) that simplify the product's use;

(C) Safety features that are not found on similar products intended for adults;

(D) Colors commonly associated with childhood (pinks, blues, bright primary colors);

(E) Decorative motifs commonly associated with childhood (such as animals, insects, small vehicles, alphabets, dolls, clowns, and puppets);

(F) Features that do not enhance the product's utility (such as cartoons) but contribute to its attractiveness to children 12 years of age or younger; and

(G) Play value, i.e., features primarily attractive to children 12 years of age or younger that promote interactive exploration and imagination for fanciful purposes (whimsical activities lacking utility for accomplishing mundane tasks; actions performed for entertainment and amusement).

(ii) Principal use of the product - the principal uses of a product take precedence over other actions that are less likely to be performed with a product. For example, when a child pretends that a broom is a horse, that does not mean the item is a children's product because the broom's principal use is for sweeping;

(iii) Cost - the cost of a given product may influence the determination of the age of intended users; and

(iv) Children's interactions, if any, with the product - products for use in a child's environment by the caregiver but not for use by the child would not be considered to be primarily intended for a child 12 years of age or younger.

(4) The Age Determination Guidelines issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission staff in September 2002, and any successor to such guidelines. The product's appeal to different age groups and the capabilities of those age groups may be considered when making determinations about the appropriate user groups for products.

(d)Examples - To help manufacturers understand what constitutes a children's product under the CPSA, the following additional examples regarding specific product categories are offered:

(1) Furnishings and Fixtures - General home furnishings and fixtures (including, but not limited to: Rocking chairs, shelving units, televisions, digital music players, ceiling fans, humidifiers, air purifiers, window curtains, tissue boxes, rugs, carpets, lamps, clothing hooks and racks) that often are found in children's rooms or schools would not be considered children's products unless they are decorated or embellished with a childish theme and invite use by a child 12 years of age or younger, are sized for a child, or are marketed to appeal primarily to children. Examples of home or school furnishings that are designed or intended primarily for use by children and considered children's products include: Infant tubs, bath seats, small bean bag chairs with childish decorations, beds with children's themes, child-sized desks, and child-sized chairs. Decorative items, such as holiday decorations and household seasonal items that are intended only for display, with which children are not likely to interact, are generally not considered children's products, since they are intended to be used by adults.

(2) Collectibles - Adult collectibles may be distinguished from children's collectibles by themes that are inappropriate for children 12 years of age or younger, have features that preclude use by children during play, such as high cost, limited production, fragile features, display features (such as hooks or pedestals), and are not marketed alongside children's products (for example, in a children's department) in ways that make them indistinguishable from children's products. For example, collectible plush bears have high cost, are highly detailed, with fragile accessories, display cases, and platforms on which to pose and hold the bears. Children's bears have lower costs and simple accessories that can be handled without fear of damage to the product. Another example of collectible items includes model railways and trains made for hobbyists.

(3) Jewelry - Jewelry intended for children is generally sized, themed, and marketed to children. The following characteristics may cause a piece of jewelry to be considered a children's product: Size; very low cost; play value; childish themes on the jewelry; sale with children's products (such as a child's dress); sale with a child's book, a toy, or party favors; sale with children's cereal or snacks; sale at an entertainment or educational event attended primarily by children; sale in a store that contains mostly children's products; and sale in a vending machine. In addition, many aspects of an item's design and marketing are considered when determining the age of consumers for whom the product is intended and will be purchased including: Advertising; promotional materials; packaging graphics and text; dexterity requirements for wearing; appearance (coloring, textures, materials, design themes, licensing, and level of realism); and cost. These characteristics will help jewelry manufacturers and consumers determine whether a particular piece of jewelry is designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger.

(4) DVDs, Video Games, and Computer Products - Most computer products and electronic media, such as CDs, DVDs, and video games, are considered general use products. However, CDs and DVDs with encoded content that is intended for and marketed to children, such as children's movies, games, or educational software may be determined to be children's products. CPSC staff may consider ratings given by entertainment industries and software rating systems when making an age determination. In addition, electronic media players and devices that are embellished or decorated with childish themes that are intended to attract children 12 years of age or younger, are sized for children, or are marketed to appeal primarily to children, are not likely to fall under the general use category where children 12 years or younger likely would be the primary users of such devices. However, electronic devices such as CD players, DVD players, game consoles, book readers, digital media players, cell phones, digital assistant communication devices, and accessories to such devices that are intended mainly for children older than 12 years of age or adults are products for general use.

(5) Art Materials - Materials sized, decorated, and marketed to children 12 years of age or younger, such as crayons, finger paints, and modeling dough, would be considered children's products. Crafting kits and supplies that are not specifically marketed to children 12 years of age or younger likely would be considered products intended for general use. Consideration of the marketing and labeling of raw materials and art tools (such as modeling clay, paint, and paint brushes) may often be given high priority in an age determination because the appeal and utility of these raw materials has such a wide audience. If a distributor or retailer sells or rents a general use product in bulk (such as a raw art materials or art tools) through distribution channels that target children 12 years of age or younger in educational settings, such as schools, summer camps, or child care facilities, this type of a distribution strategy would not necessarily convert a general use product into a children's product. However, if the product is packaged in such a manner that either expressly states or implies with graphics, themes, labeling, or instructions that the product is designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger, then it may be considered a children's product if the required consideration of all four statutory factors supports that determination. The requirements of the Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act are similar to the labeling requirements of the FHSA, of which it is a part. Therefore, third party testing to LHAMA is not required. An art material designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger would have to be tested by a third party laboratory to demonstrate compliance with CPSIA, but it would not require third party testing and certification to the LHAMA requirements. For the same reasons, no general conformity certificate is required for general use art materials.

(6) Books - The content of a book can determine its intended audience. Children's books have themes, vocabularies, illustrations, and covers that match the interests and cognitive capabilities of children 12 years of age or younger. The age guidelines provided by librarians, education professionals, and publishers may be dispositive for determining the intended audience. Some children's books have a wide appeal to the general public, and in those instances, further analysis may be necessary to assess who the primary intended audience is based on consideration of relevant additional factors, such as product design, packaging, marketing, and sales data.

(7) Science Equipment - Microscopes, telescopes, and other scientific equipment that would be used by an adult, as well as a child, are considered general use products. Equipment that is intended by the manufacturer for use primarily by adults, although there may be use by children through such programs, is a general use product. Toy versions of such items are considered children's products. If a distributor or retailer sells or rents a general use product in bulk through distribution channels that target children 12 years of age or younger in educational settings, such as schools or summer camps, this type of a distribution strategy would not necessarily convert a general use product into a children's product. However, if the product is packaged in such a manner that either expressly states or implies with graphics, themes, labeling, or instructions that the product is designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger, then it may be considered a children's product if the required consideration of all four statutory factors supports that determination. Products mainly intended for use by the instructor would not be considered children's products. In general, scientific equipment that is specifically sized for children, such as protective gear, eyewear, gloves, or aprons and/or has childish themes or decorations and invites use by a child 12 years of age or younger or is marketed to appeal primarily to children is considered a children's product.

(8) Sporting Goods and Recreational Equipment - Sporting goods that are intended primarily for consumers older than 12 years of age are considered general use items. Sporting equipment, sized for adults, are general use items even though some children 12 years of age or younger will use them. Unless such items are specifically marketed to children 12 years of age or younger, or have extra features that make them more suitable for children 12 years of age or younger than for adults, they would be considered general use products. If children 12 years or younger would mainly use the product because it would be too small or inappropriate for older children to use, then it likely would be considered a children's product. Likewise, recreational equipment, such as roller blades, skateboards, bicycles, camping gear, and fitness equipment are considered general use products unless they are sized to fit children 12 years of age or younger and/or are decorated with childish features by the manufacturer.

(9) Musical Instruments - Musical instruments, including electronically-aided instruments suited for an adult musician, are general use products. Instruments intended primarily for children can be distinguished from adult instruments by their size and marketing themes. The Commission notes that if a distributor or retailer sells or rents in bulk, a general use musical instrument through distribution channels that target children 12 years of age or younger in educational settings, such as schools or summer camps, this type of a distribution strategy would not necessarily convert a general use product into a children's product. However, if the product is packaged in such a manner that either expressly states or implies with graphics, themes, labeling, or instructions that the product is designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger, then it may be considered a children's product if the required consideration of all four statutory factors supports that determination.

This page provides information for businesses seeking guidance on how to comply with the federal toy safety standard, ASTM F963-16.

Table of Contents

Overview

Specific Testing Questions

Overview

All toys intended for use by children 12 years of age and under must be third party tested and be certified in aChildren’s Product Certificate as compliant to the federal toy safety standard enacted by Congress, and to other applicable requirements as well. Please see our Business Guidance Page. Also, please see guidance pages for other common requirements for children’s products: lead, lead in paint, phthalates, small parts, and tracking labels.

What is the toy safety standard?

The toy safety standard refers to ASTM F 963-16. All children’s toys manufactured on or after April 30, 2017, must be tested and certified to ASTM F963-16.

ASTM F 963-16, The Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, is a very comprehensive standard that addresses numerous hazards that have been identified with toys. Previous versions of ASTM F963 were voluntary industry consensus standards that represented the collective work of industry, consumer groups, the government, and others to provide adequate industry-wide standards for toys. In 2008, the CPSIA mandated that the voluntary toy safety standard then in effect become a nationwide mandatory children's product safety rule.

You may view a summary and purchase the toy safety standard in its entirety from ASTM International's website.  On ASTM's website, you can view a brief description of the toy safety standard, a table of contents of the standard's sections, and a list of products that are not covered by the toy safety standard (although some of those products, such as bicycles, are covered by another mandatory standard). In order to view the full standard, you must purchase the standard from ASTM because it is protected by copyright laws. You are urged to review the toy safety standard and to consider which sections of the standard may be applicable to your product.

A manufacturer or importer is responsible for identifying the sections of the toy standard that apply to their product(s). Once you have identified the applicable requirements for your product, you must use a CPSC-accepted laboratory to perform the testing. To facilitate the testing of your product, you should contact a CPSC-accepted laboratory to discuss your product and to secure an estimate. The estimate should provide you with an itemized listing of which sections of the standard the laboratory proposes to test your product for conformity. (As a consumer of these laboratory services, you may want to secure an estimate from more than one laboratory, as you likely would do with any major purchase.) 

Is third-party testing and certification required for the toy safety standard?

Yes. Third-party testing and certification is required for those toys designed or intended primarily for children 12 and under.

Does every section of the toy safety standard apply to every toy?

No. The toy safety standard is a lengthy document that contains provisions for many different types and classes of toys.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the toy standard.  Different sections of the toy standard apply to different toys.   Many of the standard's sections may not apply to a particular product, but there are likely to be many sections that do apply.  

For example, if your toy does not produce any sound, it would not need to comply with the section of the toy standard that tests how loud a sound the toy makes, but there are still many other provisions of the toy standard that may apply to your toy.  Because different toys have different characteristics, materials, and functions, every toy needs to be reviewed individually to determine what sections of the toy safety standard are applicable. There are too many possible combinations of applicable sections of the toy safety standard to review all of them here.

You should review the standard carefully.  As a manufacturer or importer, it is your responsibility to review the toy safety standard and to consider which sections of the standard may be applicable to your product. (You may review the table of contents free of charge.)  Ultimately, however, you will likely need to have your product tested by a CPSC-accepted laboratory.  You should contact at least one CPSC-accepted laboratory to discuss your product and to secure an estimate. The estimate should provide you with an itemized listing of which sections of the toy safety standard the laboratory proposes to test your product for conformity. Please review these helpful questions to ask the laboratory.

Please see this helpful chart on ASTM F963-11 that breaks down the different sections of the toy standard into generally applicable requirements and toy specific requirements.

Testing and Certification

Do all sections of the toy safety standard require third party testing?

No, only certain provisions of the toy safety standard outlined in 16 CFR §1112.15(b)(32), and also detailed in this chart require third party testing. The sections of the toy safety standard that require third party testing are as follows:

ASTM F 963-16

  • Section 4.3.5.1, Surface Coating Materials - Soluble Test for Metals
  • Section 4.3.5.2, Toy Substrate Materials 
  • Section 4.3.6.3, Cleanliness of Liquids, Pastes, Putties, Gels, and Powders (except for cosmetics and tests on formulations used to prevent microbial degradation)
  • Section 4.3.7, Stuffing Materials
  • Section 4.5, Sound Producing Toys
  • Section 4.6, Small Objects (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.7, Accessible Edges (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.8, Projections
  • Section 4.9, Accessible Points (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.10, Wires or Rods
  • Section 4.11, Nails and Fasteners
  • Section 4.12, Plastic Film
  • Section 4.13, Folding Mechanisms and Hinges
  • Section 4.14, Cords, Straps, and Elastics
  • Section 4.15, Stability and Overload Requirements
  • Section 4.16, Confined Spaces
  • Section 4.17, Wheels, Tires, and Axles
  • Section 4.18, Holes, Clearances, and Accessibility of Mechanisms
  • Section 4.19, Simulated Protective Devices (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.20.1, Pacifiers with Rubber Nipples/Nitrosamine Test
  • Section 4.20.2, Toy Pacifiers
  • Section 4.21, Projectile Toys
  • Section 4.22, Teethers and Teething Toys
  • Section 4.23.1, Rattles with Nearly Spherical, Hemispherical, or Circular Flared Ends
  • Section 4.24, Squeeze Toys
  • Section 4.25, Battery-Operated Toys (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.26, Toys Intended to Be Attached to a Crib or Playpen (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.27, Stuffed and Beanbag-Type Toys
  • Section 4.30, Toy Gun Marking
  • Section 4.32, Certain Toys with Spherical Ends
  • Section 4.35, Pompoms
  • Section 4.36, Hemispheric-Shaped Objects
  • Section 4.37, Yo-Yo Elastic Tether Toys
  • Section 4.38, Magnets (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)
  • Section 4.39, Jaw Entrapment in Handles and Steering Wheels
  • Section 4.40, Expanding Materials
  • Section 4.41, Toy Chests (except labeling and/or instructional literature requirements)

The sections of the toy safety standard that DO NOT require third party testing are as follows:

  • The sections of ASTM F 963-16 that address food and cosmetics, products traditionally outside the Commission's jurisdiction.
  • The sections of ASTM F 963-16 pertaining to the manufacturing process, and thus, cannot be evaluated meaningfully by a test of the finished product (e.g., the purified water provision at section 4.3.6.1).
  • Requirements for labeling, instructional literature, or producer's markings in ASTM F 963-16. More info on this issue below in a separate FAQ.
  • Generally, the Commission has stated that it will not require third party testing and certification for certain labeling and technical requirements. For example, neither the labeling requirements under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (15 U.S.C. 1261−1278), nor the labeling requirements under the Flammable Fabrics Act (15 U.S.C. 1191−1204) require a product to undergo third party testing.
  • The sections of ASTM F 963-16 that involve assessments that are conducted by the unaided eye and without any sort of tool or device.
  • Section 4.3.8 of ASTM F 963-16, pertaining to a specific phthalate, because section 108 of the CPSIA specifically addresses phthalates.

Do all sections of the toy safety standard require certification?

Yes. Although certain sections of the toy safety standard are exempted from third party testing, toys must be certified, in a Children’s Product Certificate, as being fully compliant with all applicable sections of the toy safety standard. For the applicable sections of the toy safety standard that are exempt from third party testing, manufacturers are expected to test each product or ensure that the product has been subjected to a reasonable testing program. (For convenience, some manufacturers may choose to have laboratories test the toy for compliance with those exempted sections, although it is not a requirement that they do so.)

Some sections on labeling and technical requirements, discussed above, cannot be tested and, therefore, testing is not required.

Where can I find the official Commission notice about certification and third party testing requirements?

The specific sections that require testing at a CPSC-accepted testing laboratory are listed at 16 CFR §1112.15(b)(32).

For which age groups (i.e., the product's intended users) is third party testing and certification of toys required?

Toys intended or designed primarily for children 12 years of age and younger must be subjected to third party testing and certification in a Children’s Product Certificate at CPSC-accepted laboratories.

Although ASTM F 963-16 technically applies to toys intended for use by children under 14 years of age, the third party testing requirement only pertains to toys intended or designed primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. In other words:

  • If the toy is intended or designed for children 14 years of age or older, then ASTM F963 does not apply to the toy and it need not be tested by a third party laboratory.
  • If the toy is intended or designed for children 13 years of age, then the toy is still subject to the requirements in ASTM F963-16, but you are not required to have the toy tested by a third party laboratory. (Few toys are likely to fall within this category.)
  • If the toy is intended or designed primarily for children 12 years of age or younger, then the toy is subject to the requirements in ASTM F963-16 and you must have the toy tested by a third party laboratory.

For those toys for which third party testing is required, the testing must be conducted by a CPSC-accepted laboratory.

Specific Testing Questions

Do warning labels, written instruction manuals, or other producer’s markings on a product or the product’s packaging require testing by a CPSC-accepted laboratory?

No. In addition, the sections of ASTM F963-16 that involve assessments conducted by the unaided eye and without any sort of tool or device do not require testing by a CPSC-accepted laboratory. See the complete list of sections that require third party testing described in the table above. If a section from ASTM F963-16 is not listed there, then third party testing is not required.

Are toys required to be tested to meet flammability requirements?

No. Congress did not include flammability requirements and third party testing for flammability of toys when it made the toy safety standard mandatory in 2008.

However, a children’s toy—during its customary and reasonably foreseeable handling or use—must not be a hazardous substance that may cause substantial personal injury or substantial illness during, or as a proximate result of, being a highly flammable or extremely flammable solid. This requirement, which is from the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, does not require premarket, third party testing from a CPSC-accepted laboratory.

To sell such a product, a manufacturer should have a basis for the decision to test or not test a product for flammability characteristics. The basis may be the expected pattern of “customary and reasonably foreseeable handling or use.” Or, the basis may be pre-existing knowledge that the materials used in a product are known not to be particularly flammable based on testing done under similar standards, such as the listing of certain materials in the wearing apparel flammability standard (16 C.F.R. § 1610.1(d)), such as polyester, which do not require testing due to experience gained from years of testing in accordance with the standard.

If a manufacturer is uncertain, or wishes to test the product to be certain it is not highly flammable, 16 C.F.R. § 1500.44 is an appropriate test method to use, and the test method provided in Annex A5 of ASTM F963-16 is also another appropriate test method.

Must all accessible substrates be tested for total lead and soluble heavy elements as specified in ASTM F963-16?

Not necessarily. While Section 4.3.5.2(1) of ASTM F963-16 says that the accessible substrates and all small parts must be tested for total lead and eight soluble heavy elements, the term "accessible" is defined in 4.3.5.2(1)(a), and it is very important to determine whether your toy is subject to this additional requirement.

First, "accessible" is defined in section 3.1.2 of ASTM F963-16, and a toy must be examined for accessible parts both before and after age-appropriate use and abuse testing.

Second, for the purpose of the definition in section 3.1.2, and as stated in section 4.3.5.2, only toys or the parts of toys that can be sucked, mouthed, or ingested - both before and after age-appropriate use and abuse testing - need to be tested for the eight soluble heavy elements . This means that toys or parts of toys that, due to their inaccessibility, size, mass, function, or other characteristics, cannot be sucked, mouthed, or ingested are not required to be tested for the soluble elements listed above. However, compliance with total lead content limits for such items still may be required under the CPSIA, if they are accessible to touch.

The following criteria are considered reasonable for the classification of toys that are likely to be sucked, mouthed, or ingested: (1) all toy parts intended to be mouthed or contact food or drink, components of toys which are cosmetics, and components or writing instruments categorized as toys; (2) toys intended for children less than 6 years of age, where there is a probability that the parts or components of the toy would come into contact with the mouth. See Note 4 of Section 4.3.5.2(1)(a).

Therefore, if your product is age-graded as intended for use for children age 6 years and above, and is not likely to be sucked, mouthed, or ingested, it does not need to be tested for the eight metals. Remember that regardless of this analysis, the CPSIA requires that all accessible components of children's products meet the lead content requirement of 100 ppm. Please review our lead guidance page.

Cadmium

Section 4.3.5.2(1) states that the accessible substrates in toys (including accessible glass, metal, and ceramic toys or small parts of toys) are subject to the limits set forth in Table 1 of F963-16, which specifies, among other requirements, a limit of 75 parts per million of soluble cadmium content (or 50 parts per million for modeling clays that are part of toys). Yet, Section 4.3.5.2(2)(c) states that the soluble cadmium content limit is 200µg.

What is the difference between these two requirements? The test procedure for the requirement in section 4.3.5.2(1) is based on a 2-hour extraction period. Section 4.3.5.2(2)(c) specifically states that the section is in addition to the limits in Table 1 but only for metallic toys or metallic toy components that are small parts. That class of toys cannot exceed a value of 200 µg for total cadmium extracted from an item within a 24-hour period when tested per section 8.3.5.5(3). The section does note, however, that "Compliance with all of the above requirements may be established by a screen of total element content as specified in 8.3.1."

Updates Revisions to ASTM F963

What are the key changes in the newest version of the CPSC's toy safety standard ASTM F963-16?

Labeling Requirements

Battery-Operated Toys and Magnetic Toys now have new labeling requirements. See sections 5.15 for button or coin cell batteries and 5.17 for magnets.

Batteries

ASTM F963-16 incorporates new testing requirements on certain button and coin cell batteries of 1.5V+. There are four new testing methods – overcharging, repetitive overcharging, single-fault charging tests and short-circuit protection test.  See section 8.19.

Heavy Elements

ASTM F963-16 updated the testing methodology for heavy elements to allow X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry using Monochromatic Excitation Beams (HDXRF) for total element screening.  See section 8.3.1.4.

Magnets

The new version of the toy standard includes a cyclic soaking test for only wooden toys, toys to be used in water, and mouth pieces of mouth-actuated toys with magnets or magnetic components.  See section 8.25.4.

Mouth-Actuated Toys

ASTM F963-16 adds design requirements to prevent projectile from entering mouth.  See section 8.13.2.

Projectile Toys

Kinetic energy density level changes allowed for certain types of projectile toys. Of particular note, CPSC staff issued a letter on March 31, 2017, exercising its enforcement discretion under section 4.21.2.3, to apply the KED requirements only to projectiles with energies greater than 0.08 J. This enforcement discretion extends to testing and certification requirements, under Section 14 of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), 15 U.S.C. § 2063, so that testing would not be required for projectiles with energies less than or equal to 0.08 J. This enforcement discretion will go into effect immediately, and it will remain effective until further notice. Please read the full letter for more information, and see Section 8.14 of the Toy Standard.

Ride-On Toys

Design changes:

  • Stability – dimensional spacing between wheels on the same axis, see Section 4.15.1.
  • Overloading – more stringent overload weight test for ride-on and seated toys, see Section 8.28.
  • Restraints – exempts straps used for waist restraints from free length and loop requirements, see Section 4.14.6,

Sound-Producing Toys

Redefines “mouth-actuated toys” to include broader range of toys (see Section 4.5):

  • increases peak limits (see Section 4.5.1.4 and Annex A12.9.4);
  • lowers test speed for push-pull toys (see Section 8.20.2.5 and Annex A12.9.10)

New Sections in ASTM F963-16

  • Toy Chests (Section 4.41) – Reincorporates toy chest sections 4.27 and associated provisions from ASTM F963-07ε1; clarifies a multi-positional lid requirement when testing for maximum lid drop.
  • Expanding Materials (Section 4.40) – new definitions, performance requirements, test methodology and a test template to address the emerging hazard of GI blockage related to ingestion of expanding materials

Note, several of the new or revised requirements in the release of the 2016 version of ASTM F963 are an effort to align ASTM F963, ISO 8124, and EN71 toy standards. Additionally, the changes listed above are only selected changes to the U.S. Toy Standard, ASTM F963.

If you are not sure how these changes affect your product, you can contact the CPSC Small Business Ombudsman for assistance by emailing us here: https://www.cpsc.gov/About-CPSC/Contact-Information/Contact-Specific-Offices-and-Public-Information/Small-Business-Ombudsman or by calling 301-504-7945.

What were the key changes to the prior 2011 version of CPSC's toy safety standard ASTM F963?

Heavy Elements in Substrate Materials

The primary changes in the 2011 version of ASTM F963 included adding limits for the soluble amount of eight elements (antimony, arsenic, lead, barium, cadmium, chromium, mercury, and selenium) permitted in toy substrates. This requirement is in addition to the limits that already exist for surface coatings on toys and the specific limits on total lead content and lead in paint and other surface coatings. The new requirement is based on the soluble limits of eight metals (listed above) after a solubility test in diluted acid.

Screening Test for Heavy Elements in Substrate Materials

In addition, the 2011 version provided an optional screening test procedure that is based on the total concentration of those elements in a single test.  Most CPSC-accepted laboratories will test a toy for the heavy elements using the screening test and only conduct additional testing for heavy elements if the screening test indicates a failing component or a need for further testing to resolve an ambiguous result. The screening test uses methods based on CPSC-approved test methods for lead content.  If the screening test shows passing results for the various elements in a predetermined range, the results may be relied upon, in certain circumstances, without further testing for solubility of the elements. 

Bath Toys

Another major addition to the 2011 version of ASTM F963 are the requirements for bath toys; these additions are intended to address the potential puncture or other hazards that may be presented by vertical, or nearly vertical, rigid projections on bath toys.

Other

Finally, there are many other revisions that were implemented in the 2011 version of ASTM F963, such as changes made on the use of cords, the requirements for squeeze toys attached to rings, yo-yo tether balls, straps and elastics, jaw entrapment, toys with spherical ends, and the stability of ride-on toys.

For future updates to ASTM F963, what happens when ASTM International submits proposed revision(s) to the Commission regarding the ASTM F963 toy standard currently in effect?

When ASTM International notifies the Commission of proposed revision(s) to ASTM F-963, the Commission has 90 days from the date of notification to inform ASTM International if it determines that the proposed revision(s) does not improve the safety of the consumer product covered by the standard. If the Commission does inform ASTM International of its determination that the proposed revision(s) does not improve safety, the existing ASTM F963 standard continues in effect as a consumer product safety rule, regardless of the proposed revision(s). If the Commission does not respond to ASTM International within 90 days regarding the proposed revision(s) to ASTM F963, 90 days later (180 days total after notification by ASTM International), the proposed revision(s) becomes effective as a consumer product safety rule.

Additional Resources

  • Laboratory Test Manual for Toy Testing [PDF]
  • ASTM F 963-16 Chart

For more information, please contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  1. Office of Compliance (for specific enforcement inquires): e-mail: section15@cpsc.gov; telephone: (800) 638-2772.
  2. Small Business Ombudsman (for general assistance understanding and complying with CPSC regulations): e-mail: Please use our Contact Form, which is the best way to get a fast response; telephone: (888) 531-9070.

This communication has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is based upon the facts and information presented. This communication does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice and has not been reviewed or approved by the Commission, and does not necessarily represent their views. Any views expressed in this communication may be changed or superseded by the Commission.

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