In today’s increasingly diverse market, the toy industry must adapt to the regulations and standards of different countries to ensure the compliance and safety of products in the international market. Different countries and regions have established their national toy qualification systems, which not only involve manufacturers’ production processes but also directly impact consumer trust in products. This article will focus on the qualification requirements for toys in different countries and regions, revealing the regulations, standards, and testing requirements behind them. The aim is to provide a global perspective for the toy industry, promoting the movement of safer, higher-quality toys into the international market.
- U.S. – United States
- European Union
- UK – United Kingdom
- South Korea
If your country is not listed in this article, don’t worry, you can contact us at ZHX Toys and we will answer any questions you may have about the toy industry, we are also qualified to certify toys in any country!
United States of America
CPC Certification (Children’s Product Certificate): is a mandatory child product safety certification enforced by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The certification aims to ensure that children’s products comply with relevant safety standards during the design, manufacturing, and sale processes in the United States.
Key features and requirements include:
– Manufacturer’s Responsibility: Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their children’s products comply with relevant safety standards, and they must provide CPC certification to demonstrate the compliance of their products.
– Testing Requirements: CPC certification requires third-party laboratory testing to verify whether the product complies with the safety standards specified by CPSC and ASTM F963. Testing requirements vary based on the specific type of product and cover aspects such as physical performance, chemical content, electrical performance, etc.
– CPC Certification Documents: Manufacturers need to generate and maintain CPC certification documents, including test reports, compliance statements, product label samples, etc. These documents can be subject to regulatory scrutiny and provided to consumers when necessary.
– Product Labeling: Products must bear labels that comply with CPSC regulations, providing relevant warnings and instructions to ensure consumers use and understand the potential risks of the product correctly.
ASTM F963 is a crucial standard in the U.S. toy industry, widely recognized as a guiding document to ensure the safety and quality of children’s toys. Issued by ASTM International, this standard establishes a set of provisions for the design, manufacture, and testing of children’s toys.
The standard covers various areas, including physical properties, mechanical properties, flammability, chemical composition, and more. Tests for physical and mechanical properties evaluate the wear resistance, strength, and sharp edges of toy materials to ensure that toys do not pose unexpected hazards during use. On the other hand, flammability tests focus on assessing a toy’s response to an ignition source to ensure it is not easily combustible.
In terms of chemical composition, ASTM F963 emphasizes that materials used in toys should comply with specified limits to prevent harmful substances that could pose potential risks to children. The standard also requires manufacturers to provide warning labels and instructions regarding the use of the toy to ensure that parents and guardians can correctly understand the applicable age range, usage instructions, and potential risks. By adhering to ASTM F963, manufacturers demonstrate their commitment to providing children’s toys that meet the highest safety standards, creating a trustworthy shopping option for consumers in the U.S. market.
CPSIA (The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) is a federal law enacted in the United States in 2008 to enhance the safety of consumer products, including stringent requirements for children’s toys. The law was enacted in response to a series of concerns about the safety of toys and other children’s products.
One of the core objectives of CPSIA is to ensure that toys do not contain harmful substances, particularly heavy metals and toxins. According to the legislation, manufacturers must ensure that their products comply with relevant material restrictions, such as lead and phthalates. Additionally, CPSIA sets forth specific requirements for playability, protection of small parts, battery safety, and more. Certification under CPSIA requires manufacturers to undergo third-party laboratory testing, and products must pass these tests to ensure compliance with the legally mandated safety standards. Furthermore, the law specifies requirements for product labeling to provide consumers with clear information about the product, including applicable age ranges, warnings, and usage instructions.
The implementation of CPSIA strengthens oversight of manufacturers of children’s toys and provides consumers with a higher level of safety assurance. Products that comply with CPSIA can be legally sold in the U.S. market and enhance the reputation of manufacturers in the global market, offering consumers a more reassuring shopping experience.
CE (Conformité Européene): This is one of the crucial certifications in the toy industry. The CE certification aims to ensure that toys comply with the regulations and standards of the European Economic Area (EEA) when sold in the European market, with a particular focus on standards related to product safety, health, and environmental aspects.
The CE marking is a declaration made by manufacturers and affixed to the product, representing the manufacturer’s commitment to compliance with European regulations. The application process for CE certification includes a comprehensive evaluation of the product, including design file reviews, sample testing, and audits of the manufacturing process. Throughout this process, manufacturers must ensure that their products meet relevant European standards, such as EN71, EN62115, etc. This involves considering aspects such as the design, construction, materials, labels, and instructions for toys to ensure compliance with European regulatory requirements. In addition to basic tests for physical and mechanical performance, various tests cover chemical content, electrical performance, and more.
Toys that have obtained CE certification can freely circulate in the European market, providing the necessary compliance for manufacturers to enter the European market. When consumers purchase toys bearing the CE mark, they are more likely to trust the safety and quality of the product. Therefore, CE certification not only recognizes the quality management and safety awareness of manufacturers but also provides a solid foundation for competition in the European market.
EN71 (European Norm 71): EN71 is a stringent set of regulations in Europe concerning the safety of children’s toys. If EN71 test reports are not provided, children’s toys may face mandatory recalls and sales bans. EN71 is one of the directives under CE certification, and toys must undergo EN71 certification and pass relevant tests to obtain a CE certificate. The EN71 standard requires toy manufacturers to ensure their products pose no potential risks to children in terms of physical, mechanical, and chemical aspects through a series of rigorous tests. This includes evaluations of the durability of toy materials, flammability, and testing for toxic elements and chemical substances. EN71 does not only focus on the product itself but also specifies requirements for age appropriateness, warning labels, and usage instructions for toys.
The following are the standards for EN71 certification testing:
EN71-1: Toy Safety – Part 1: Physical and Mechanical Properties
EN71-2: Toy Safety – Part 2: Flammability
EN71-3: Toy Safety – Part 3: Migration of Certain Elements
EN71-4: Toy Safety – Part 4: Experimental Sets and Chemical Toys (sets)
EN71-5: Toy Safety – Part 5: Chemical Toys (other than experimental sets)
EN71-6: Toy Safety – Part 6: Graphic Symbol for Age Warning Labelling
EN71-7: Requirements for the Experimental Set for Chemistry
EN71-8: Toy Safety – Part 8: Swings, Slides, and Similar Activity Toys for Indoor and Outdoor Family Domestic Use
EN71-9: Organic Compounds – General Requirements
EN71-10: Sample Preparation and Extraction of Organic Chemical Compounds
EN71-11: Organic Chemical Compounds – Methods of Analysis
EN62115: EN62115 is part of the European Union’s CE certification for toy safety directive (Directive No. 2009/48/EC), and it enforces safety standards specifically for electric toys. The scope includes all electric toys and also applies to electric construction sets, electric functional toys, electric experiment sets, and video toys. This European standard specifies safety requirements for electric toys that have at least one function dependent on electricity.
EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility): EMC is a certification for all electronic products designed to ensure that electronic devices can operate properly in the electromagnetic environment without creating excessive electromagnetic interference. EMC includes requirements related to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electromagnetic susceptibility (EMS) testing. On one hand, it refers to the limit of electromagnetic interference that a device can produce in its normal operation in a given environment. On the other hand, it indicates the degree of immunity of the device to electromagnetic interference present in its environment. This testing is typically standardized and managed by organizations such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals): REACH is a European Union regulation that addresses the registration, evaluation, authorization, and restriction of chemicals in products produced, imported, sold, and used within the EU. The regulation, effective since 2007, covers most products containing chemicals. In toy manufacturing, it is crucial to ensure that the plastic chemicals used comply with REACH regulations to avoid potential health and environmental risks. Additionally, REACH encourages the use of environmentally friendly alternative materials to reduce adverse impacts on the environment.
REACH regulation involves several key steps in its handling process:
1: Pre-registration: Manufacturers can conduct pre-registration before formal registration to ensure a sufficient understanding of the supply chain for specific substances.
2: Formal Registration: Manufacturers submit detailed information about chemicals, including safety data and usage, to obtain a registration number.
3: Evaluation: The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) assesses the registration information to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
4: Authorization and Restriction: For high-risk substances, ECHA may authorize or restrict their use to ensure safety.
GS Certification, represented by the GS certification mark, is an abbreviation for the German term “Geprüfte Sicherheit,” meaning “Tested Safety” in English. It is a voluntary certification based on the German Product Safety Act (GPGS), conducted by European Union unified standards (EN) or German Industrial Standards (DIN). GS is a widely recognized German safety certification mark in the European market. Although GS is voluntary, it holds high authority and recognition in the European consumer market, surpassing the credibility of the CE certificate. Many products, including children’s toys, baby products, audio-video equipment, telecommunications, digital electronics, and more, may find it challenging to sell in Germany or surrounding regions without the GS mark.
Having GS certification in Germany and within Europe provides several advantages:
1. The GS certification mark is widely recognized by German and EU consumers as a symbol of product safety and reliable quality.
2. It minimizes the manufacturer’s risk of responsibility for product quality.
3. It boosts the manufacturer’s confidence in product quality, safety, and compliance with legal requirements.
4. It emphasizes the manufacturer’s commitment to product quality and safety to consumers.
5. The GS mark assures consumers that the product has passed tests conducted by third-party testing organizations.
6. Products with the GS mark exceed the required standards for quality and safety according to the law.
UK – United Kingdom
UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) is the UK national mark used to indicate that a product complies with the technical specifications and safety standards in the United Kingdom. This mark was introduced after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and, to some extent, replaced the CE mark that was previously used in the European market. The introduction of the UKCA mark aims to ensure that products circulating in the UK market meet national regulations, and it is used in trade as a replacement for the CE mark.
Manufacturers of children’s toys need to appropriately label their products with the UKCA mark to demonstrate compliance with the UK’s technical and safety requirements. This mark applies to various product categories, including electronic products, mechanical equipment, toys, and more. The introduction of the UKCA mark allows the UK to independently establish and manage certification standards for products in its market without being bound by EU regulations.
Furthermore, even though the UK has left the EU, certain EU-based certification systems such as REACH, EN71, EN 62115, and others are still used in toy certification in the UK.
AS/NZS ISO 8124.1 is a mandatory standard established by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), outlining requirements for the design and construction of toys intended for children up to and including 36 months of age. The standard delineates safety considerations related to mechanical and physical properties, generally applicable to toys designed for children up to the age of 14. This encompasses normal usage scenarios and reasonably foreseeable instances of abuse.
Compliance with the standard is permissible through adherence to one of the following specifications:
– The Australian standard AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2023 – Safety of toys – Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties
– The international (ISO) standard ISO 8124‑1:2022 – Safety of toys – Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties
– The European (EN) standard EN 71‑1:2014 + A1:2018 – Safety of toys – Part 1: Mechanical and physical properties
– The American (ASTM) standard ASTM F963‑17 – Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety.
The implementation of this mandatory standard aims to minimize the risk of small parts detaching from toys during play or after reasonable wear and tear, thereby reducing the potential for choking, suffocation, or fatal incidents.
GCC（Gulf Cooperation Council): is the abbreviation for the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is a regional organization composed of six Gulf countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. GCC plays a crucial role in the toy industry by establishing standards and requirements, promoting development, and ensuring the safety of the toy market in the region.
GCC countries collectively work to ensure that toys meet high-quality and safety standards, safeguarding the rights of consumers, especially children. In this regard, GCC has issued a series of regulations regarding toy design, manufacturing, and labeling, covering various aspects from physical performance to material chemical composition. This aims to ensure the playability and durability of toys while avoiding potential threats from harmful substances to children.
Under the guidance of GCC, toy manufacturers must ensure that their products comply with regional standards and undergo the necessary testing and certification. This includes testing the quality and safety of materials, as well as evaluating the compliance and sustainability of the design. By adhering to GCC standards, manufacturers can ensure the legality and marketability of their products in the region.
For participants in the toy industry, understanding and complying with GCC regulations is essential. This not only helps meet local regulatory requirements but also enhances the competitiveness of products in GCC countries. Therefore, GCC standards provide a structured and regulated framework for the toy industry, promoting the standardized and healthy development of the toy market in the Middle East.
When it comes to selling toys in Mexico, several key safety standards and regulations need to be considered. It is important to note that Mexico only recognizes its own NOM certification, and safety marks from the United States and Canada (such as UL, ETL, and CSA) are not acknowledged by the Mexican government.
NOM-015-SCFI-2007: This standard establishes commercial information and labeling requirements that toys must meet to ensure compliance with Mexican market regulations.
NOM-252-SSA1-2011: As an environmental health standard, it focuses on limiting heavy metal content in toys to ensure the safety of children.
ISO 8124 series – Toy Safety Standards: This international series of standards provides a unified set of safety guidelines for all toys designed for children under 14.
NOM-133/1-SCFI-1999: This official Mexican standard specifies safety requirements that walkers must meet to ensure the safety of children under normal usage.
PROY-NOM-253-SE-2021: This standard covers mechanical, physical, electrical, and flammability safety requirements and is currently in the public consultation stage.
It’s crucial to be aware that Mexico recognizes only its own NOM certification for products sold in its market. Manufacturers and importers should closely monitor these regulations and ensure their products comply with the relevant requirements to guarantee the safety and compliance of children’s toys.
INMETRO (Instituto Nacional de Metrologia, Qualidade e Tecnologia): INMETRO is Brazil’s national institute for metrology, quality, and technology research. The INMETRO certification is a mandatory product certification system in Brazil, including for toys. The purpose of this certification is to ensure the safety, reliability, and compliance of products, safeguarding consumer rights. All toys produced, imported, and sold in Brazil must have the INMETRO certification mark to be eligible for sale.
Toy manufacturers must undergo INMETRO certification to demonstrate that their products comply with Brazilian national standards and regulations. This certification encompasses testing and assessment of various aspects of toys, including physical performance, electrical characteristics, and chemical components, among others. Testing items include but are not limited to structural safety, harmful substance content, and the safety of electrical components.
Once INMETRO certification is obtained, the product can be legally sold in the Brazilian market and carry the INMETRO mark. The validity of the certificate is approximately one year.
JSFL (Japan Food Sanitation Law) is Japan’s unique approach to regulating toys designed for children under the age of 6, authorized by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) under the Japan Food Sanitation Law. Enacted in 2003, the law specifically addresses toys that are intended or may come into direct contact with a child’s mouth. This means products such as soothers, bottles, pacifiers, rattles, clays, masks, origami, blocks, toy cell phones, and dollhouse toys. Specific safety tests address the use of substances that are considered harmful when ingested, such as cadmium, lead, phthalates, arsenic, and other heavy metals.
ST: The ST (Safety Toys) standard and its corresponding mark of compliance were created in 1971 by a public interest organization called the Japan Toy Association (JTA). Compliance with the standard depends on successful laboratory testing by the manufacturer, retailer, or importer. The ST standard was revised in 2016 and consists of three sections: mechanical and physical properties (in accordance with ISO 8124-1) flammability (in accordance with the ISO 8124-2 standard) chemical properties. After a JTA-approved testing laboratory certifies compliance with all applicable test standards, the product qualifies for the influential ST mark. The product is eligible to receive the influential ST Mark. As of now, participation in the ST Standards and Marks program is voluntary. However, all toy manufacturers and importers should consider them mandatory in the eyes of safety-conscious Japanese buyers.
KC (Korea Certification): The KC certification system for children’s products is established based on South Korea’s “Children’s Product Safety Special Act,” “South Korean Product Safety Basic Act,” and the South Korean Product Safety Management System. It is managed and implemented by the Korea Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS). For toy manufacturers, obtaining KC certification is a crucial step to enter the South Korean market.
This certification covers a range of product safety standards and technical specifications, ensuring that toys comply with relevant regulations and quality requirements. KC certification includes testing and assessment of materials, structure, and electrical performance, among other aspects, to ensure that the product poses no potential harm to children during use.
Manufacturers applying for KC certification need to conduct product testing through a Korean-accredited laboratory and submit relevant documents and information to demonstrate that their products comply with the specified standards. Once certified, the product can carry the KC mark, indicating compliance with regulations and quality standards in the South Korean market.
The above is a summary of the current safety regulations in the global toy market. We hope that after reading this blog, you will have a clearer understanding of the toy safety regulations in your target market, as well as in other regions and markets. We trust that this blog will effectively assist you in your toy import project.
With over 30 years of experience in international trade, ZHXTOYS is well-versed in the global toy market safety regulations. Feel free to reach out to us for any questions in this regard or for assistance in your plastic toy procurement plans or plastic product ODM/OEM projects. We are committed to providing comprehensive support for your business endeavors.