Overview of changes in ASTM F963 toy safety standard

On October 20, 2016, a new version of the ASTM F963 standard was published. The revision summary is listed below.

The ASTM F963 toy safety standard

ASTM F963 has long been a key standard for toy safety testing. This standard addresses safety requirements for toys which are any object designed, manufactured or marketed as a plaything for children under 14 years of age (Excluding products listed in Appendix A).

October 20, 2016
Publication of ASTM F963
version 2016
Before end of January 2017
CPSC will make decision on the adoption of the updated standard
In April 2017
The standard will become mandatory if it is adopted by CPSC

Section Requirements Significant changes
4.3.5 Heavy elements
  • Added alternative total heavy metal screening method for homogenous polymers: HD-XRF
  • Clarified exemption, per 16 CFR 1500.91, only applies to total lead and this exemption is extended to soluble lead only, not the other elements (except for paper and paperboard which are exempt from soluble testing for all elements)
  • Clarified exemption criterion in stickers and printed textiles
  • Clarified that if the total screening test for cadmium is below 75 ppm, metal small part components are deemed compliant to the extraction of cadmium test
4.3.6 and 8.4 Microbiological safety
  • Added items of avian feather origin into the scope of microbiological safety
  • Specified acceptable microbial limits for cleanliness of materials (Refer to Appendix B)
  • Updated test method references and criteria for cleanliness of materials:
    • USP 35 <61> and <62>
    • The CTFA microbiology guidelines, test methods M-1 and M-2
    • Following organisms shall not be detected:
      • Pseudomonas sp.
      • Escherichia coli
      • Coagulase-positive Staphylococcus sp.
      • Salmonella sp.
      • Shigella sp. (for Avian Feather only)
  • Updated test method references and criteria for preservative effectiveness:
    • USP 35 <51>
    • The CTFA microbiology guidelines, test methods M-3 and M-6
    • Following organisms, at a minimum, are used to challenge the product:
      • Staphylococcus aureus
      • Escherichia coli
      • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
      • Candida albicans
      • Aspergillus brasiliensis
4.3.7 and 8.29 Stuffing material requirements
  • Removed Pennsylvania state requirements
  • Simplified evaluation method by allowing visual inspection using stereo widefield microscope or equivalent apparatus
4.5 Acoustics
  • Changed the evaluation procedure to be more aligned with ISO 8124-1 and EN 71-1
  • Updated test parameter (Speed) for push / pull toys from 2m/s to 1m/s
  • Raised C-weighted peak limit for close-to-the-ear toys from 95 dB to 110 dB (which is aligned with EN 71-1) and 8.13 Mouth-actuated projectile toys
  • Added requirements and test methods for mouth-actuated projectile toy regarding small part which may lead to choking hazard
4.14 Cords, strap and elastics in toys
  • Added exemption to straps used for waist restraints on ride-on toys from the free length and loop requirements
4.15.1 and 8.28 Ride-on toys
  • Added exemption for product with wheels 150 mm or less apart that are inherently unstable (Follow EN 71-1 for products which are not inherently designed for stability)
  • Modified the overload test for ride-on toys intended to accommodate multiple children
4.21 and 8.13, 8.14 Projectile toys
  • Alignment with ISO 8124-1 and EN 71-1 except dimension parameters for pen refill
  • Added tip assessment gauge for projectile with a ridged leading edge
  • Added length requirement (57 mm) for suction cup projectiles
  • Added impact test requirements for projectile with stored energy and arrows fired without stored energy
  • Allowable projectile kinetic energy density (KED) is now 2,500 J/m2
  • Added exemption for foam small parts that are released from projectiles after testing
4.24 Squeeze toys
  • Clarified that the impaction hazard requirement only applies to the portion of the toy which has the squeeze function
4.25 and 5 Battery operated toys
  • Added requirements to rechargeable cells and batteries, such as lithium batteries and nickel metal hydride batteries:
    • Battery overcharge test
    • Repetitive overcharge test
    • Single fault charging test
    • Short circuit protection test
  • Added labelling requirements to product operated from coin or button cells
  • Added requirements for toy operated from lithium ion or lithium ion polymer batteries that the cell shall comply with at least one of the following standards:
    • ANSI C18.2M part 2
    • UL 1642 or UL 2054
    • IEC 62133
  • Added new reference standards for batteries and charger:
    • ANSI/UL 2595
    • IEC 60950-1
4.38 and 8.25 Magnets
  • Added additional testing to be aligned with ISO 8124-1 and EN 71-1:
    • Soaking test for wooden toys and mouth pieces of mouth actuated toys to be performed prior to other use and abuse tests
    • Compression test
    • Drop test
    • Specified metal disk to use for cycle test when toy contains no mating metal part
4.40 and 8.30 Expanding materials
  • New requirements for certain toys which may expand significantly after being swallowed by a child, creating a gastrointestinal blockage
4.41 and 8.27 Toy chests
  • Reincorporated the requirements for toy chest from ASTM F963
5-7 Labelling / instruction / producer marking
  • Added requirements for:
    • Button or coin cell batteries labelling
    • Toy chests instruction and producer’s marking
    • Battery powered ride-on toys instruction
  • Revised requirements for:
    • Magnets labelling
    • Battery operated toys instruction

According to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), the updated standard will be enforced and become mandatory 180 days after the ASTM has notified the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), unless the revision is rejected by CPSC within 90 days.

Appendix A

Products that are not covered by ASTM F963:

  1. Bicycle / tricycles
  2. Non-powered scooters
  3. Recreational powered scooters / pocket bikes
  4. Sling shots / sharp-pointed darts
  5. Playground equipment
  6. Non-powder guns
  7. Kites
  8. Hobby and craft item which the finished item is not primarily of play value
  9. Model kit which the finished item is not primarily of play value
  10. Crayon, paints, chalks and other similar art materials in which the material itself or the finished item is not primarily of play value, except that all art materials, whether or not a component of a toy, must comply with LHAMA
  11. Sporting goods / Camping goods / Athletic equipment / Musical instruments / Juvenile products / Furniture (However toys that are their counterparts are covered)
  12. Powered models of aircraft / Rockets / Boats / Land vehicles (However toys that are their counterparts are covered)
  13. Constant air inflatables

Appendix B

Product categories Microbial limits
(cfu/mL or cfu/gm)
Infant product 100 (500)1
Product such as face paints or cosmetics intended for use by a child or on a doll or similar product (excluding lip balms, lip glosses, lipsticks and the like items which) which have a high likelihood of being used in the area of the eye 100 (500)1
Avian feather products 5000
All other products 1000 (5000)1
1. Due to the variability introduced by the dilution process, up to 5 x 102 cfu/mL or cfu/gm for infant or face paint and up to 5 x 103 cfu/ml or cfu/gm for all other products can be considered to be an acceptable result.

This summary is not intended to be exhaustive nor should it be construed as legal advice.

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ASTM F963 Toy Safety Standard | QIMA