Easy to Understand Explanation of Safety Regulations for Toys (Part 1)

Regulations concerning Small Parts for Children’s Toys and Children’s Products

This is the first article of a series of articles introduced in our article Beginning with Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) and American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). We have consolidated information from Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) and American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) and attempted to make it easier to understand.

Reason for Regulation:
Because children under three tend to put objects in their mouth, the Small Parts Regulation protects children under three from injury and/or death by banning children’s toys and products that either use small parts or can be broken into small parts.

 Products Governed:
CPSC defines the products controlled by these regulations as toys and products which are commonly recognized as and/or match the characteristics of products used by children under the age of three (3) (view Age Determination Guidelines). The list below provides examples but may not contain all products controlled by these regulations.

Example of Products 
  • Teething Toys
  • Squeeze Toys
  • Pull Toys
  • Push Toys
  • Pounding Toys
  • Blocks and Stacking Toys
  • Toy Cars, Trucks, and Vehicles for children under 3
  • Baby, Rag, Bean Bag, or Other Dolls for children
    under 3
  • Chime and Musical Balls
  • Chime and Musical Carousels
  • Jack-in-the-Box
  • Stuffed, Plush, Flocked Animals and
    Figures
  • Preschool Toys, Games, and Puzzles for children
    under 3
  • Infant and Child Furniture
  • Cribs, Playpens, Crib Mobiles
  • Crib Exercisers and Gyms
  • Baby Bouncers and Walkers
  • Strollers and Carriages
  • Objects attached to Cribs, Strollers, Playpens, or
    Baby Carriages
  • Bathtub, Wading Pool, or Sand Toys
  • Rocking, Spring, and Stick Horses and Figures
  • Rocking, Rolling and Riding Toys for children under
    3

Exemptions:

The ONLY Toys and Products which are exempt from these regulations are either:

 1) listed as exempt due to controls placed on them by other regulations (Children’s Clothing and Accessories, Rattles and Pacifiers); or
2) because they are listed as exempt because they cannot be manufactured in a way that would prevent them from breaking into small parts when subjected to use and abuse testing (balloons, paper products, crayons, chalk, pencils, modeling clay, and finger paint)

Ball means a spherical, ovoid, or ellipsoidal object that is designed or intended to be thrown, hit, kicked, rolled, dropped, or bounced. The term “ball” includes any spherical, ovoid, or ellipsoidal object that is attached to a toy or article by means of a string, elastic cord, or similar tether. The term “ball” also includes a multi-sided object formed by connecting planes into a generally spherical, ovoid, or ellipsoidal shape that is designated or intended to be used as a ball, and any novelty item of a generally spherical, ovoid, or ellipsoidal shape that is designated or intended to be used as a ball. The term “ball” does not include dice, or balls permanently enclosed inside pinball machines, mazes, or similar other containers. A ball is permanently enclosed if, when tested in accordance with 16 CFR 1500.53, it is not removed from the outer container.

Warning Label for “Small Parts”
(16CFR1500.20(d)(1)
A small part is any object that fits completely into a specially designed test cylinder 2.25 inches long by 1.25 inches wide that approximates the size of the fully expanded throat of a child under three years old. Testing  is defined by 16CFR1500.4 (See FIG 1 – SMALL PARTS CYLINDER). A small part can be:

  1. A whole toy or article
  2. A Separate part of a toy, game, or other article
  3. A piece of a toy or article that breaks off during testing that simulates use or abuse by children

If a small part fits completely into the cylinder, and the toy or product from which it came is intended for use by children under three, the toy or product is banned because the small part presents a choking hazard.

Warning Label for “Balloon”
(16CFR1500.20(d)(2)

 Balloon means a toy or decorative item consisting of a latex bag that is designed to be inflated by air or gas. The term does not include inflatable children’s toys that are used in aquatic activities such as rafts, water wings, swim rings, or other similar items.

Warning Label for “Is a Small Ball”
(16CFR1500.20(d)(3)(i)

Small Ball means a ball that, under the influence of its own weight, passes in any orientation, entirely through a circular hole with a diameter of 1.75 inches (44.4 mm) in a rigid template 1/4 inches (6 mm) thick. In testing to evaluate compliance with this regulation, the diameter of opening shall be no greater than 1.75 inches (44.4 mm).

Warning Label for “Contains a Small Ball”
(16CFR1500.20(d)(3)(ii)

Small Ball means a ball that, under the influence of its own weight, passes in any orientation, entirely through a circular hole with a diameter of 1.75 inches (44.4 mm) in a rigid template 1/4 inches (6 mm) thick. In testing to evaluate compliance with this regulation, the diameter of opening shall be no greater than 1.75 inches (44.4 mm).

Warning Label for “Is a Marble”
(16CFR1500.20(d)(4)(i)

Marble means a ball made of hard material, such as glass, agate, marble, or plastic, that is used in various children’s games, generally as a playing piece or marker. The term “marble” does not include a marble permanently enclosed in a toy or game. A marble is permanently enclosed if, when tested in accordance with 16 CFR 1500.53, it is not removed from the toy or game.

Warning Label for “Contains a Marble”
(16CFR1500.20(d)(4)(ii)

 Marble means a ball made of hard material, such as glass, agate, marble, or plastic, that is used in various children’s games, generally as a playing piece or marker. The term “marble” does not include a marble permanently enclosed in a toy or game. A marble is permanently enclosed if, when tested in accordance with 16 CFR 1500.53, it is not removed from the toy or game.

 

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