Table of Contents
All toys intended for use by children 12 years of age and under must be third party tested and be certified in a Children’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 F963-17, as incorporated with a modification shown in 16 CFR Part 1250. All children’s toys manufactured or imported on or after February 28, 2018, must be tested and certified to ASTM F963-17.
ASTM F963-17, The Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, is a comprehensive standard addressing numerous hazards that have been identified with toys. In 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) mandated that the voluntary toy safety standard in effect at that time become a nationwide mandatory children's product safety rule.
You may view a summary of the ASTM toy safety standard and purchase the 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). To view the full standard, you must purchase the copyright-protected document from ASTM by visiting astm.org. Please note, a manufacturer or importer of children’s toys is responsible for identifying the sections of the toy standard that apply to their company’s product(s).
Are third party testing and certification required for the toy safety standard?
Yes. Third party testing and certification are required for toys designed or intended primarily for children 12 and under. Once you have identified the applicable requirements for your product, you must use a CPSC-accepted laboratory to perform testing to show that the product complies with the toy standard.
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 to for conformity. (As a consumer of such laboratory services, you may want to secure an estimate from more than one laboratory, as you likely would do with any major purchase.)
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; however, 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 standard are applicable.
As a manufacturer or importer, it is your responsibility to review the toy safety standard and to consider which sections of the standard may apply 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. Please review these helpful questions to ask the laboratory.
Please see this helpful chart on ASTM F963-17 that breaks down the different sections of the toy standard into generally applicable requirements and toy-specific requirements.
Do all sections of the toy safety standard include third party testing requirements?
No, only certain provisions of the toy safety standard outlined in 16 CFR §1112.15(b)(32), and also detailed in this chart, specify third party testing requirements. The sections of the toy safety standard that require third party testing are:
- Section 126.96.36.199, Surface Coating Materials - Soluble Test for Metals
- Section 188.8.131.52, Toy Substrate Materials
- Section 184.108.40.206, 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 (requirements for this section modified by 16 CFR part 1250)
- 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 by the CPSC are as follows:
- The sections of ASTM F963 pertaining to the manufacturing process, and thus, toys cannot be evaluated meaningfully by a test of the finished product (e.g., the purified water provision at section 220.127.116.11).
- Requirements for labeling, instructional literature, or producer's markings in ASTM F963. More information 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 F963 that involve assessments conducted by the unaided eye and without any sort of tool or device.
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 sections of the toy safety standard that are exempt from third party testing, manufacturers are still expected to ensure that their product is compliant with those applicable sections and to certify compliance through a Children’s Product Certificate covering the product.
Where can I find the official Commission Notice of Requirements and the third party testing requirements for children’s toys?
For which age groups (i.e., the product's intended users) are third party testing and certification of toys required?
Toys intended or designed primarily for children 12 years of age or younger must be third party tested by a CPSC-accepted testing laboratory and certified by the manufacturer or importer in a Children’s Product Certificate.
Although ASTM F963 applies to toys intended for use by children under 14 years of age, federal law requires third party testing for items subject to children’s product safety rules. The law defines “children’s products” as consumer products designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger.
No. In addition, the sections of ASTM F963 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 bulleted list above. If a section from ASTM F963 is not listed there, then third party testing is not required.
No. Congress did not include flammability requirements and third party testing for 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.
This means that there may be situations when a children’s toy that is likely to be used in or around a flame source, will need to be tested to ensure that the product is not highly or extremely flammable. 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 is another appropriate test method.
Not necessarily. Although section 18.104.22.168(1) of ASTM F963-17 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 22.214.171.124(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 F963-17, 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 126.96.36.199, 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 188.8.131.52(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.
Additionally, the Commission has determined that certain untreated and unfinished engineered wood products (EWPs), specifically, particleboard, hardwood plywood (without polyvinyl acetate), and medium-density fiberboard also do not exceed the total lead content limit and would not be required to have third party testing for compliance with the total lead content limit. You can read more about this determination at 83 FR 28983 and at 16 CFR Part 1252.
Section 184.108.40.206(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 F963-17, 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 220.127.116.11(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 18.104.22.168(1) is based on a 2-hour extraction period. Section 22.214.171.124(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 126.96.36.199(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."
What are the key changes in the newest version of the CPSC’s toy safety standard, ASTM F963-17?
The latest revision to ASTM F963 corrected language from the 2016 version concerning the testing of projectile toys in section 188.8.131.52. This change was made to bring section 184.108.40.206 into harmony with the intent of the March 31, 2017, CPSC staff enforcement discretion letter concerning that section.
The regulation at 16 CFR part 1250 requires toys to comply with applicable provisions of ASTM F963-17, with one exception relating to toy test methods on sound-producing pull/push toys found in Section 220.127.116.11(5). The regulation at 16 CFR § 1250.2(c) indicates that toys, instead of complying with Section 18.104.22.168(5) of ASTM F963-17, must comply with the following:
Floor and tabletop toys that move, where the sound is caused as a result of the movement imparted on the toy (for example, a noise-making mechanism attached to an axle of a toy vehicle) shall be tested using the method for pull and push toys. In addition to the C-weighted peak measurement maximum A-weighted sound pressure level, LAFmax, shall be made and compared to the requirements of 22.214.171.124.
The majority of the changes made to ASTM F963-17 were editorial changes: grammar and spelling changes, and clarifications to sentences. Other changes were made to some terminology: one definition was removed, one was clarified, one was changed editorially, and there were nine new references that were added that relate to microbiological guidelines. There was a rationale that was added in reference to the new language in section 126.96.36.199 for Projectiles with Stored Energy.
What were the key changes from the 2011 version to the 2016 version of CPSC's toy safety standard, ASTM F963?
Battery-Operated Toys and Magnetic Toys received new labeling requirements. See Sections 5.15 for button or coin cell batteries and 5.17 for magnets.
ASTM F963-16 incorporated 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.
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 188.8.131.52.
The 2016 version of the toy standard included 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.
ASTM F963-16 added design requirements to prevent projectiles from entering the mouth. See Section 8.13.2.
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 184.108.40.206, 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 went into effect immediately, and it will remain in effect until further notice. Please read the full letter for more information, and see Section 8.14 of the Toy Standard.
- 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,
Redefined “mouth-actuated toys” to include broader range of toys (see Section 4.5):
- increases peak limits (see Section 220.127.116.11 and Annex A12.9.4);
- lowers test speed for push-pull toys (see Section 18.104.22.168 and Annex A12.9.10)
Sections added in ASTM F963-16
- Toy Chests (Section 4.41) – Reincorporated toy chest sections 4.27 and associated provisions from ASTM F963-07ε1; clarified 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 intended 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 F963-16 version.
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://origin.prod.cpsc.gov/About-CPSC/Contact-Information/Contact-Specific-Offices-and-Public-Information/Small-Business-Ombudsman, or by calling 301-504-7945.
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 informs 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.
- ASTM F 963-17 Chart
For more information, please contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Office of Compliance (for specific enforcement inquires): e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone: (800) 638-2772.
- 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.