Children's toy standard
The Product Safety Standards (Children's Toys) Regulations 2005
Purpose of the standard
Small parts pose an ingestion or inhalation hazard to young children. Young babies explore their world by putting things in their mouths. However, children under 3 years of age don't have a well-developed coughing reflex and will choke easily on small items.
The objective of these regulations is to reduce the risk to children less than 3 years of age choking on toys, by ensuring that the toys meet small parts size and performance criteria.
Children’s toys must comply with specific parts of the Standard AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 Safety of toys - Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties under the Product Safety Standards (Toys) Regulations 2005 for toys intended for use by children up to the age of 36 months.
The toy standard:
- Deals with all toys that are intended or suitable for use by the under 3 age group. It requires that these toys do not have small parts that can be pulled apart from or break off the toy.
- Establishes an acceptable size — approximately the size of a ping pong ball or film canister — for toys for the under and up to and including 3 year olds. It sets up a range of tests that the product must be able to pass (such as a bite test and drop test) without small parts breaking off.
The standard establishes a hazard-based identification of potential injury risk to children, rather than a prescriptive list of different types of toys. The language has also been simplified. For example ‘Ingestion and inhalation hazard’ has been simplified to ‘small part cylinder’.
Age group requirements
AS/NZS ISO 8124 has introduced:
- more stringent requirements for the age group up to 18 months, and
- some lessening in the requirements for toys suitable for the 18 months and up to and including 36 months age group.
The under 18 month age group is considered at most risk of injury. Tests such as the drop, compression, projectile, seam strength, flexure, and tension for tyre removal tests have all become more stringent.
Purchasing the standard
You can purchase AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 Safety of toys Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties from Standards New Zealand.
Note: Only the version of the standard that's specifically cited in the Regulations applies — revisions after the date the law is made don't form part of the requirements. The cited standard will remain available through Standards New Zealand — check to make sure you have the correct version.
Who enforces the regulations
The Commerce Commission enforces the regulations in-market, and has prepared guidance material to help traders understand and comply with the requirements.
The New Zealand Customs Service enforces the regulations at the border — under the Fair Trading Act and the Customs and Excise Act. They may request documentary evidence of compliance and/or inspect goods before they're permitted to enter New Zealand. Non-compliant goods are deemed prohibited imports under the Fair Trading Act.