ASTM F963, the standard for toy safety, has been revised. The current version, ASTM F963-17: Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, revises and supersedes the 2016 edition.
The market for toys is massive, and, as of 2016, the NPD Group estimated the U.S. toy industry to be in the $26.5 billion range. At this size, the accumulation of toy manufacturers and retailers that comprise this industry are responsible for putting a great deal of toys in consumer hands. These products, while existing in great variation, can be expected to undergo some kind of common use, therefore sharing much foreseeable abuse.
By identifying the possible hazards with toy use, as well as those that may not be recognized readily by the public, ASTM F963-17 is able to establish nationally recognized safety requirements for toys. While the standard does not purport to cover every conceivable hazard of a particular toy or eliminate the need for parental responsibility in the selection or toys or parental supervision, it does minimize accidents in the normal, intended use of the toys that it covers.
The ASTM F963-17 specification, in addition to covering guidelines, contains test methods for toys, and it is intended for toys for use by children under 14 years of age. As toys differentiate in their components and usage, the document addresses a wide range of materials for which it covers safety requirements.
For example, Section 4.6 of ASTM F963-17 covers small objects, and states that “these requirements are intended to minimize the hazards from choking, ingestion, or inhalation to children under 36 months of age created by small objects.”
The information that ASTM F963-17 provides is presented meticulously, and this thoroughness is crucial because of this sheer importance of this standard. ASTM F963-17’s guidance helps to keep children safe. Back in 1976, when this standard first came into fruition, toys manufactured for children were alarmingly dangerous. Therefore, any guidelines limiting hazards are certainly helpful.
ASTM F963 was last revised in 2016, when some major changes included alterations to guidance on toys incorporating sound, magnet, hinges, and other features. You can read more about this revision, in addition to some general background information on the toy safety standard, in our past post on the topic: https://blog.ansi.org/2016/11/astm-f963-16-standard-consumer-safety-specification-for-toy-safety/
ASTM F963-17 also contains some notable changes. The main rationale for this revision was to add new language to projectile toys with stored energy, specifically indicating when to perform the kinetic energy density measurement on projectiles. This aligns the standard with ISO 8124 guidelines.
The ASTM F963-17 revision is intended to update the safety requirements to include the following by reference: published federal mandatory requirements, relevant voluntary standards, certain new requirements for addressing potential hazards, and several technical revisions based on producer experience with the original standard. ASTM F963 is mandatory under the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 2051−2089).
ASTM F963-17: Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety is available on the ANSI Webstore.