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Toys for children up to and including 36 months of age

The mandatory standard for toys for children up to and including 36 months of age came into effect on 17 December 2003. It covers specific testing methods, as well as design and construction requirements.

Under the mandatory standard, toys for children up to and including 36 months old are objects manufactured, designed, labelled or marketed as playthings.  They include but are not limited to:

  • rattles, toy dummies, teethers, and squeeze toys
  • toys for attaching to cots, playpens, prams and strollers
  • push and pull toys
  • pounding toys
  • blocks and stacking toys
  • bath toys
  • rocking, spring and stick horses and figures
  • musical chime toys
  • jack-in-the box
  • stuffed, plush and flocked animals and figures
  • dolls
  • toys with pompoms
  • games and puzzles
  • toy cars, trucks and other vehicles.

The mandatory standard was created to reduce the chances of small parts coming off toys during play or after reasonable wear and tear, therefore helping to prevent choking, suffocation or death.

The mandatory standard excludes the following toys:

  • balloons (a mandatory standard however applies to balloon blowing kits)
  • marbles
  • tapes and CDs
  • books
  • writing materials
  • paints and paint brushes (a mandatory standard however applies to finger paints with lead and other elements)
  • modelling materials including play dough, clay and plasticine
  • bicycles having a wheel base of not less than 640 mm (a separate mandatory standard applies to bicycles)
  • playground equipment for parks, schools and home use
  • goods supplied wholly or partially unassembled that require an adult to assemble them after they’re bought, provided that when assembled according to their supplied written instructions, the goods comply with the specified standards
  • flotation toys (a separate mandatory standard applies to these)
  • baby dummies (a separate mandatory standard applies to these)
  • toys made wholly from highly porous material (such as cheesecloth) – except for toys with pompoms
  • toys made from certain plastics that are labelled according to the mandatory standard.

On this page:

Hazards

Choking or suffocation

If young children put toys or parts of toys in their mouth they could choke on them.  If the toy or part gets stuck in their throat and blocks their breathing, they could suffocate.

Loss of consciousness or death

Children can suffer asphyxia (when oxygen stops entering the body) as a result of toys or parts of toys blocking their breathing.  Asphyxia causes loss of consciousness or death.

Mandatory standard

This mandatory standard is based on Australian Standard AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 ‘Safety of toys Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties’.

AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 is a voluntary standard except for those sections specifically called up by the mandatory standard.  You must consult the mandatory standard for these details.

For complete information about all mandatory requirements for toys for children up to and including 36 months old, you must read Consumer Protection Notice No. 14 of 2003, as amended by Consumer Protection No. 1 of 2005.  This information is essential to ensure you and your business comply.

The mandatory standard came into effect on 17 December 2003.

Does this apply to your business?

Under the ACL supply includes:

  • in relation to goods - (including re-supply) by way of sale, exchange, lease, hire or hire-purchase and
  • in relation to services - provide, grant of confer. 

This mandatory standard applies to anyone in the business of supplying toys for children up to and including 36 months old, including:

  • manufacturers
  • importers
  • distributors
  • retailers
  • hirers.

To allow for staggered implementation, there are some cases where a mandatory standard or ban prescribes different compliance dates for the manufacturing, importing and supply of a product. Manufacturers, importers and distributors should check for this detail in the mandatory standard before embarking on production, importation or distribution of these goods.

Complying with the mandatory standard

For complete information about the mandatory requirements for toys for children up to and including 36 months old, you must read:

Suppliers may also find these documents helpful in understanding aspects of the mandatory standard:

Penalties and consequences

Supplying toys for children up to and including 36 months of age that do not comply with the mandatory standard can make you liable for heavy fines and product recalls.  For more details, view Penalties and consequences.

Some key requirements

The requirements noted below are key requirements only. They may help to give suppliers a general idea of the detail they must look up in the Consumer Protection Notice and Australian/New Zealand standard. This information may also assist consumers when they are choosing toys for children under three years old.

While we provide some advice on this page to help you understand aspects of the standard, suppliers must not rely on this information as a complete guide to compliance.

Testing methods

Small parts, including the toy itself or a part of the toy that could come loose from the toy, should be tested to ensure they cannot be swallowed or become lodged anywhere in a child’s mouth or throat.

The mandatory standard specifies procedures for testing that suppliers should organise through specialist testing laboratories with the appropriate skills, experience and equipment.

Design and construction

Toys for young children can come in many shapes, forms and materials.  Basically, the toy itself and any parts of it that can come off must not be smaller than a certain size; this size is roughly the same as a 35 mm film canister.  Manufacturers must ensure through testing that their toys comply with the standard.

A word of caution

Toy suppliers must note that even if toys are labelled and/or marketed for older children, the mandatory standard may apply if the toys are commonly recognised as being intended or suitable for children under 36 months of age.  The standard provides some guidance on appropriate ages for using toys, referencing official United States age determination guidelines by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) (PDF).

Alerts

Teething necklaces are primarily designed to be worn as jewellery, but they provide an additional function as a teether for babies. They are generally made of silicone or other chewable material beads, strung together to be worn by mum, and advertised as suitable for babies to chew on. Teething necklaces may be found on-line or at weekend markets.

Legal cases and undertakings

Date commenced: 20th February 2009
Kyberguard Pty Ltd—Sliding Tractor/Truck and the Electric Hot Rod Race Car failed to comply with the Australian Standard, contravening section 65C of the Trade Practices Act.

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