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Playing it safe this holiday season with ISO toy safety standard

by Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis on
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babies playing with toys

In the run-up to the end-of-year holiday season, a newly revised and improved ISO standard aims to reduce even further the risk of a child being injured by unsafe toys.

The improved ISO 8124-1:2012, Safety of toys - Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties, defines requirements and test methods for toys intended for use by children under 14 years of age, and sets age limits for various requirements. Appropriate warnings and/or instructions for use on certain toys or their packaging are also given.

"Possible hazards in toys are not easily detectable at first glance," says Frank Gibbs, project leader of the ISO team that developed the standard. "The updated standard takes into account the nature of the hazards as well as the expected mental or physical ability of a child to cope with the hazards. Consumers can be assured that the toys they purchase conforming to ISO 8124-1 will help make toys safe for little hands."

ISO 8124-1 is one of a series of standards published under the generic title, Safety of toys, designed to minimize potential toy hazards arising from their use in intended play modes (normal use), as well as unintended play modes (reasonably foreseeable abuse).

Whether hi-tech or traditional, the series covers all sorts of play things in its four parts:

  • ISO 8124-1:2012, Safety of toys Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties
  • ISO 8124-2:2007, Safety of toys – Part 2: Flammability
  • ISO 8124-3:2010, Safety of toys – Part 3: Migration of certain elements
  • ISO 8124-4:2010, Swings, slides and similar activity toys for indoor and outdoor family domestic use

"ISO 8124 is a vital safety standard and its use can reduce the risk of harm, reduce access to a hazard and reduce the severity of an injury," further notes Frank Gibbs. "We hope all categories of toy manufacturers around the world will realize the importance of ISO 8124. Our children's safety depends on it!"

In an ongoing effort to toughen toy safety, ISO technical committee ISO/TC 181,Safety of toys, is expanding the series with the development of two additional parts: Part 5: Determination of total concentration of certain elements in toys, and Part 6: Toys and children's products - Determination of phthalate plasticizers in polyvinyl chloride plastics. The two new parts are expected to be published in 2014.

ISO 8124-1:2012, Safety of toys - Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties, was developed by joint technical committee ISO technical committee ISO/TC 184, Safety of toys. It costs 196 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication and Information department.