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
blocks and stacking toys
rocking, spring and stick horses and figures
musical chime toys
stuffed, plush and flocked animals and figures
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:
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.