How do I know toys are safe?
- A guide for parents from the ATA
Welcome to the toy safety resource for parents and grandparents provided by the Australian Toy Association (ATA).
This guide has been written specifically for parents: to reassure you that toys, if chosen correctly are safe and to guide you through the process of buying and playing with toys.
In May 2011 the ATA and Victorian Consumer Affairs Minister - Mr Michael O'Brien MP addressed a media contingent on the compliance issues faced by our industry in relation to product safety standards. A demonstration of non compliant toys and products was clearly made to the audience and this illustrated the strong and co-operative working relationship the ATA enjoys with Consumer Affairs.
This media presentation was aired by the major Melbourne channels and can be viewed below:
Please click through the following links for further safety information.
The Australian Toy Association (ATA) is proud of our significant accomplishments in the area of toy safety. The ATA continues to work with the various regulators, both state and federally, Standards Australia, consumer groups and industry to continually advance product safety, both in Australia and around the world.
ATA represents more than 280 manufacturers, importers and retailers of toys, accounting for about 90% of all toys distributed in Australia. Our intention is simple: to help you keep your child safe during play.
- Safety is fundamental to the development and manufacture of toys.
- Strict safety standards for toys have been developed over the years.
- Toys are tested to ensure their compliance to these standards.
- The toy safety process also allows for the possibility of a recall should a faulty toy be detected.
- Recalls are a critical part of the toy safety chain. They are the "safety net" used in a robust testing system if an issue is identified with a product that has passed all safety tests and yet may still have the potential to cause damage.
- In the case of a recall, the toy company who has supplied the product, the federal government and retailers who stock the product work together in a coordinated manner to get the affected products off shelves as soon as possible.
- Check here for the Australian recall list http://www.recalls.gov.au/
- Age ratings - never mix toys meant for children of different ages. It can be dangerous for younger children to get hold of toys that are too old for them.
- The toy box - have a regular clear out of your toy boxes to check loose fur, ripped seams, sharp or rough edges, loose eyes and noses, broken parts that may cause choking. If you find broken or damaged toys, throw them away. Please don't pass them on - you may be handing on an accident to another parent's child.
- Tidy up! - it may sound obvious, but toys left on the floor or the stairs can cause accidents for the entire family.
- Cot toys – take string toys out of the cot when your baby is about five months old to prevent strangulation. Remove activity centres as soon as your baby can pull to stand.
- Battery toys – always change all batteries at once. New batteries can cause old batteries to get dangerously hot.
- Garden toys – fix garden toys over grass or soil, never concrete. Make sure there is plenty of room to walk around a swing to avoid being hit by the swing seat. Empty paddling pools after use and store them deflated or upside down.
Do toys cause accidents?
There are no statistics on toy related accidents in Australia. However, by international experience, the incidence is thought to be low. In the UK, for example, just 1.5% of all accidents that occur in the home are toy-related. This includes all cases whether due to unforeseeable use and abuse or just someone injured after tripping over a toy. It is very rare for a defect in the toy itself to be responsible for causing an accident.
For our tips on choosing toys click here
Toys are required to carry warnings for specific hazards. The warning symbol means ‘do not give to children less than 3 years nor allow them to play with it’. It relates to a specific hazard, such as choking, that may harm your child. It is not an indication of skill level.
Virtually all toy packages include suggested ages for use. The child's chronological age, physical size, skill level and maturity, as well as safety, are taken into consideration in developing age labels for different types of toys. Remember however, that there is no substitute, at any age, for appropriate adult supervision.
Always buy your toys from reputable retailers and avoid street traders, car boot sales and fairgrounds. Don’t be afraid to ask the retailer for safety advice. Look out for small parts, loose fur, ripped seams and sharp or rough edges and be certain that eyes and noses are secure and can not be bitten or pulled off.