I have been reading about toy regulations and laws since I decided to get into this business several months ago. However, it was not until yesterday, while speaking to a generous gentleman at the Small Business unit of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), that everything came together. I am incorporating all safety and testing requirements into our toy specs document.
Via Small Business Ombudsman 888-531-9070,
There are two groups of regulations that will apply to our stuffed animal products and related accessories:
A) ASTM F963-11
You cannot get a free copy of this law as it is an adopted law originating from a third-body (outside of U.S. jurisdiction). However, because your toys need to be inspected by a third-party and you need to pay for such inspections, these third-party bodies will have a necessary copy of and knowledge of the ASTM rules. You may also purchase a copy for $80 here.
B) Other rules that will apply:
– Re Total Lead Content (15 USC 127a): Every children’s product is subject to a total lead content requirement. However, there are many exceptions to the lead requirement (16 CFR 1500.91): These include exceptions for textiles, fibers, untreated and natural wood, natural coatings and finishes (like Beeswax). Compliance with this requirement must be verified by a CPSC approved laboratory. If you are a Small Batch Manufacturer, you do not need to have your products third party tested at a CPSC laboratory for total lead content, but you still need to have a reasonable assurance (either from your suppliers in a written letter or email or from their first party testing) that your products meet this requirement.
– Re Lead in Paint or Surface Coatings (16 CFR 1303): Children’s products with a surface coating that can be scraped off with a razor blade must meet the lead in paint requirement. If you are a Small Batch Manufacturer, you must either (a) have your products testing by a CPSC approved laboratory, OR (b) obtain a physical copy of valid test records from your surface coatings supplier. If you are going with option (b), the test records must come from a CPSC approved laboratory AND cannot be more than 1 year old. Eventually, you will copy their test results into your Children’s Product Certificate. (Remember, your Children’s Product Certificate will contain (1) your performed tests/results, (2) their performed tests/results, and (3) any exemptions – such as 16 CFR 1500.91 re fabrics being exempt from lead testing.)
– Re Phthalates (15 USC 2057c): Toys with plasticized parts must meet the phthalates requirement. Phthalates are chemicals used in plastics to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl. Stuffed animals with plastic eyes would be subject to this requirement. However, velcro on a clothing item would be exempt from this requirement (because velcro is considered a textile). If you are a Small Batch Manufacturer, you do not need to have your products third party tested at a CPSC laboratory for phthalates, but you still need to have a reasonable assurance (either from your suppliers in a written letter or email or from their first party testing) that your products meet this requirement.
– Re Small parts (16 CFR 1501): Toys for children under 3 years of age must meet the small parts requirements. Compliance with this requirement must be verified by a CPSC approved laboratory. Even if you are a Small Batch Manufacturer, you must still verify compliance with a CPSC approved laboratory. This requirement often practically translates to a seam-strength test.
– Re Tracking information: Brand name, Where/Country made, Batch ID (something that our company assigns internally that allows us to identify the batch; it could be 2015 #1, or date of final production 10-1-2015); website address
– Re need for Certificate of compliance
* There is another rule that the third-party testing facility you use be certified by the CPSC. This is very important to realize I guess because I have gotten quotes from 2 non-certified CPSC agencies and they didn’t bother to tell me that they are not-certified by the CPSC or that this is relevant information. For example, the CPSC pointed out that, in Indonesia, there is only 1 CPSC certified tester, and that is the local Indonesian branch of the SGC (a Swiss based testing and auditing firm).
The gentleman at the CPSC then took the time to think about each one of my toys that I am looking to introduce into the market and tell me, one by one, what I would need to get tested on each.
Stuffed animal dog (poly stuffed)
– Accessible and exposed plastics need to be tested for lead + phthalates; there is no paint if I am using regular plastic toy eyes, so there is no need to test for lead paint
– Seam strength will need to be tested (to make sure a child cannot rip open the stuffed animal and then eat and choke on the polyester filling
– The raw fabrics and polyester stuffing are exempt from testing requirements because “fabric” was exempt from lead testing requirements and Congress specifically exempt toys from flammability requirements
Small dog (with plastic pellet filling)
– Because there are no plastic eyes, no need for lead/phthalates testing
– The key test here will be for seam strength (to make sure children cannot access and choke on those plastic pellets). Therefore, the stitching needs to be really tight.
Clothing accessories for the dog (sewn + knit or crochet)
– All clothing accessories are exempt from testing requirements for the raw fabrics reasoning above
Dog house box
– If the box has a printed image on it, it will likely need to be tested for lead paint and lead content
There is a general requirement to test once per year. Or when things change (this gets gray).
You also need to have a Children’s Product Certificate. This is a certificate that you build yourself (strange!) after you have received the testing reports from the third-party agencies.