By SafBaby Founders Sandra Blum and Samantha Fox Olson
Do you know what labels to look for when you purchase a toy for Christmas?
This article will help you!
Toy safety symbols are located on the packaging of our babies’ and children’s toys, and sometimes on the toy as well. Have you ever wondered what they mean? We have! So we have done some research to define these symbols and believe that knowing a little bit about these standards will help you make wiser toy purchases.
The more safety symbols the toy has, the easier it is for a consumer to trust in the safety of the product! This is especially true if you see voluntary symbols like the Lion or SGS GS, TÜV, RoHS or FSC.
If you visit your local toy store such as Toys”R”Us, Babies”R”Us or Target, you will need to dig for toys that have one or more certifications. We know, we have gone to these stores searching for them.
ASTM testing used to be voluntary. Starting February 2009, thanks to the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, toys sold in the United States for children under the age of 12 MUST be tested to the ASTM International F963 toy safety standard.
The ASTM F963 standards incorporate relevant safety measures already required under federal law and includes additional guidelines and test methods to prevent injuries from choking, sharp edges and other potential hazards. In addition to requiring toy safety standards, the law sets strict limits on lead content in children’s products and all toys need to be phthalate-free (not exceeding 0.1%).
The CE mark is a mandatory conformity and has been in effect since 1990 in the European Union (EU). It ensures the free movement of the product within the EFTA & European Union (EU) market. The EN71 toy safety standard test is similar to the ASTM F963. The toys comply with the essential requirements of the relevant European health, safety and environmental protection legislation.
All toys that carry this mark are phthalate-free and a strict limit of lead content has to be met. The 0-3 symbol needs to be added to CE mark, if there are small parts or other characteristics that are unsuitable for children less than 3 years.
The Lion in the Triangle is a symbol of safety and quality, backed by a Code of Practice and developed by the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) in 1988. Toys bearing the Lion Mark have been made to the highest standards currently in force in Britain and the European Community (BS 5665/BS EN 71). It is a symbol of toy safety and quality for the consumer.
With over 100,000 inspections and tests carried out on toys every year, TÜV Rheinland is one of the world’s leading toy inspection agencies. The tests carried out on toys include chemical, as well as physical inspections. And, the entire production and supply chain can also be tested with regard to sustainable use of resources, labor conditions and social standards.
SGS GS (Geprüfte Sicherheit) granted by SGS is a well-known and respected voluntary impartial certification mark indicating the GS safety standard and quality of an electrical toy or other product. The SGS GS mark verifies to the consumer that the product is tested and certified according to the German Act GPSG (Geräte- und Produktisicherheitgesetz = Equipment and Product Safety Act).
RoHS symbol aims to restrict certain dangerous substances commonly used in electronics and electronic equipment. This symbol bans the placing (in the European Union market) of new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than agreed levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants.
Products carrying the FSC label are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.
Der Grüne Punkt
Der Grüne Punkt is primarily a European (German) recycle symbol. It means that the manufacturer of the packaging has paid a financial amount, as contribution or license fee, to a national recycling effort geared towards full recovery of packaging material and promotion of easy-to-recycle components in packaging.
Crossed-Out Waste Bin
The crossed-out waste bin symbol can be found on batteries and toys using batteries. From September 26, 2008 every battery or product using batteries must be marked with the crossed-out wheeled waste bin symbol. In addition, a marking with the chemical symbol (Hg, Cd, Pb) is required for batteries containing more than 0,0005% mercury (Hg), more than 0,002% cadmium (Cd) and/or more than 0,004% lead (Pb).
We truly hope our research for this article helps to provide you with a little more information you need to shop safely for toys this season. For even more details, read our current post “Helping to Make Safe Toy Shopping Easier This Christmas.”
May this be your safest holiday yet!