The Product Safety Standards (Children's Toys) Regulations 2005
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 three years of age do not have a well-developed coughing reflex and will choke easily on small items.
The objective of the regulations was to reduce the risk to children less than three years of age choking on toys, by ensuring that the toys meet small parts size and performance criteria. The 2005 regulations declare those parts of AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 Safety of toys Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties that relate to small parts, to be the product safety standard.
The toy standard deals with all toys that are intended or suitable for use by the under three age group. It requires that these toys do not have small parts that can be pulled apart from, or break off the toy.
The regulations declare those parts of AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 Safety of toys Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties that relate to small parts, to be a product safety standard. This standard establishes an acceptable size for toys for the under and up to and including three year olds (approximately the size of a ping pong ball or film canister). 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.
AS/NZS ISO 8124 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’.
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 and tests such as the drop, compression, projectile, seam strength, flexure, and tension for tyre removal tests, have all become more stringent.
Enforcing the standard
The Commerce Commission is responsible for enforcing this standard and has published some guidelines.
Purchasing the standard
AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 Safety of toys Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties can be purchased from Standards New Zealand(external link).