The Australian toy market is a $5 billion industry with the majority of toys being manufactured in China. Like many countries, safety regulations in Australia require manufacturers to perform testing on their products before they are legally allowed to sell into the market. Australia’s toy market is regulated in a similar way to the EU and US markets - with strict standards that dictate the minimum requirements to sell within the country. If you are a manufacturer, importer or retailer selling in the EU or US, you may already be in compliance with Australia’s standards. If not, the barriers to entry may be less challenging than you think.
Here we will look at Australia's safety standards for toys, to give you an idea of how close you might already be to selling your products in the Australian market.
Toy safety regulations in Australia are determined and enforced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which oversees products from motorized vehicles to food products. They maintain a regularly updated website with features including product safety laws and recall notices. Conveniently, the ACCC categorizes their standards by product, so you can click your product category to access the associated regulatory requirements.
Mandatory toy compliance is divided into five categories, and the majority of Australia’s regulations are harmonized with the Australian/New Zealand standard AS/NZS ISO 8124. The following five mandatory standards are required before your product can be legally marketed in Australia.
This standard was created to address concerns regarding choking hazards caused by small parts either by design or as the result of a toy broken under reasonable use and expected wear and tear. This mandatory standard is derived from sections of the voluntary Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 'Safety Aspects Related to Mechanical and Physical Properties.'
Testing requirements cover, but are not limited to:
Examples of toys held to this standard include: rattles, teethers, toy cars, dolls, bath toys, push and pull toys, games and puzzles; as well as "toys for attaching to cots, playpens, prams and strollers." A more comprehensive list can be found on the ACCC's product safety website.
Note: Even if your toy product is labeled and marketed towards children older than 36 months, it may still be subject to this standard if it is found to be commonly used by children 36 months or younger.
This standard addresses potential eye injuries, choking hazards and flesh wounds.
A projectile toy should comply with the relevant sections for projectile toys in one of the following four standards:
These standards address the following aspects of the projectile toy:
Moreover, these standards also contain labelling requirement for projectile toys that are capable of launching a projectile more than 300 millimeters or with a kinetic energy greater than 0.08J.
Examples include toy guns, slingshots, bow and arrow sets, and dart guns. Suction cup projectile tips can pose potential choking hazards if the small suction cup breaks off of the projectile shaft through repeated bending and pulling.
The ingestion of magnets has the potential to cause choking and infection. When swallowed in pairs, they can cause severe intestinal blockage and perforation, which can be fatal. The standards and testing requirements below are designed to reduce the risk of children ever swallowing the toy in the first place.
Toys containing magnets must comply with the relevant sections for magnets in one of the following four standards:
These standards include several testing requirements.
This standard is directed at aquatic toys (specifically, those for use in play in shallow water designed to bear the mass of children under 14 years old). The main focus of this standard is on prominent warning labels. Australian safety standards demand that aquatic toy manufacturers make it clear that their product is not a safety device, and that children should never be left unaccompanied while using these products.
Aquatic toys must comply with the relevant sections for one of the following two standards:
For example, the standard requires that the air inlets of inflatable aquatic toys must be non-return valves with stoppers permanently attached.
Moreover, aquatic toys must carry a statement that clearly indicates that the toy is not a life-saving device, followed by a warning that the toy should only be used in shallow water under adult supervision. There must not be advertising content that states or implies a child will be safe if left unsupervised.
Because the nature of play involves sustained contact with toys, including contact with the skin and mouth, this standard addresses the hazards of heavy metal ingestion and absorption through the skin. Exposure to heavy metals can cause both immediate illness and long-term developmental disorders. This standard derives from AS/NZS ISO 8124.3 'Migration of Certain Elements' and AS 8124.7 'Safety of Finger Paints'.
Testing requirements cover:
Note: For finger paints, Australia enforces a lower and stricter migration limit compared to ISO 8124.7.
The ACCC understands the importance of accredited lab testing and factory inspection as the best measure against introducing unsafe toy products to the Australian market. Product testing by an accredited lab service versed in all national and international standards will ensure that your toy product is compliant.
In addition, our labs evaluate your product for:
QIMA offers fully accredited lab testing expertise so you are never in the dark about the quality and compliance of your toy and recreational equipment. We have deep factory inspection experience in Chinese factories, where the majority of toy products are manufactured (68% of toys sold in Australia are imported from China).
Our online platform and mobile application make it easy for you to schedule testing, and receive your results at any time. Book new tests, view pending orders, and access results from your mobile device. Our online platform provides valuable supply chain insights, including a summary of your QC activity, all of your supplier’s quality stats, industry benchmarking data, and more.
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