ISO toughens toy safety for hazard free and fun play

A boy and a girl playing together

Millions of toys have been recalled around the world because of hazardous levels of lead or cadmium, choking hazards, dangerous magnets, and other safety hazards. Two new Standards in the ISO 8124 toy safety series aim to reduce the risk of a child being injured by unsafe equipment or dangerous substances.

'There is no question that ISO 8124 is a cornerstone of the global toy safety network,' said Arnie Rubin, CEO of Funrise and President of the International Council of Toy Industries, in a recent interview in ISO's magazine, ISO Focus+. 'Assuring the safety of children has been our industry's priority.'

Published under the generic title, Safety of toys, the ISO 8124 series of Standards are designed to minimise potential toy hazards arising from their use in intended play modes (normal use), as well as unintended play modes (reasonably foreseeable abuse).

New to the series is ISO 8124-4:2010, Safety of toys – Part 4: Swings, slides and similar activity toys for indoor and outdoor family domestic use. The new Standard gives requirements and test methods for swings, slides and many other activity toys, thereby ensuring fun and safe playtime. It applies to activity toys used indoors and outdoors by children under 14 years of age and in the family context only.

Accident data together with risk analyses were the basis for improvements in a new version of ISO 8124-3:2010, Safety of toys – Part 3: Migration of certain elements. The improved Standard is intended to minimise children's exposure to potentially toxic elements by reducing the risk of harm if toys are ingested. It gives the maximum acceptable levels of dangerous substances such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, and other materials possibly found in toys. ISO 8124-3:2010 replaces the previous 1997 ISO edition.

Note: ISO 8124-3:2010 does not yet replace the Australian/New Zealand 2003 adoption of ISO 8124-3:1997. AS/NZS 8124.3:2003 is an adoption and was reproduced from the 1997 version of ISO 8124-3, with variations to take account of Australian/New Zealand conditions.

According to the Chair, the ISO 8124 series is expected to expand in the near future with the addition of three more new parts. These include:

  1. Total concentration of certain elements in toy material
  2. Determination of phthalate plasticisers in plasticised material
  3. Fingerpaints.

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Related Standards

Note: The 2009 edition of ISO 8124.1 Safety of toys – Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties will soon be published as an AS/NZS modified adoption of ISO 8124.1:2009.

Published in consumer and occupational safety.