The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that some 240,000 emergency-care injuries are caused by toys. A significant number of them involve damage to the head and face; and injuries caused by toy guns and related projectile toys are on the rise.
Projectile toys include toy guns, slingshots, bow and arrow sets, and dart guns; however, this label can apply to any toy or toy component meant to be launched into the air, either through stored energy (using mechanized discharge, like a trigger) or un-stored energy (using manual discharge, like a bow and arrow).
Within the highly regulated toy industry, projectile toys require special consideration for their hazardous potential. In addition to broader toy safety considerations like chemical makeup, durability and flammability resistance, projectile toys pose distinct safety concerns, such as:
Virtually all national markets require standardized testing to measure projectile products against these particular safety concerns.
National Standards, like the United States’ ASTM F963, the European Union’s EN 71 and Japan’s ST-2016, harmonize with the International Standard ISO 8124 over specifications addressing projectile pieces like foam darts and suction cups. Because of the constant push/pull force being applied to the ends of these projectile, the threat of a poorly made end-piece suddenly coming loose and creating a choking hazard is too serious to ignore.
Foreseeable-use durability testing on projectile ends employs various torque, tension, drop and impact tests to simulate their intended use.
As a further safeguard against choking, ASTM F963 and EN 71 have also set a minimum-permissible length for projectiles at 57mm.
The strength of a projectile, Known as Kinetic Energy Density (KED), is regulated to prevent eye injuries and additional choking hazards. All national and international standards place limits on a projectile’s toy KED, which is measured in joules.
Since different projectiles are fabricated with different types of tips, they are subject to different KED limits. EN 71 specifies that projectiles with resilient impact surfaces, like rubber, cannot exceed a kinetic energy of 0.5J. Rigid tips cannot exceed a kinetic energy of .08J.
Toy testing for potentially damaging noise volumes has grown in importance since noise levels were first subject to scrutiny in workplaces across America. Concern for hazardous toy noises extends beyond cap guns, to infant items like rattles and plush toys with speakers, both of which can be easily activated very closely to children’s ears.
Projectile toys require testing for acoustic pressure if they are at all:
EN 71 requires compliance in three categories of sound exposure, based on sustained sound length after initiation:
Decibel limits are imposed based on the toy’s intended use.
QIMA's comprehensive Toy Testing Service a stays current on all specification requirements for projectile toys which, when poorly fabricated outside the scope of safe usage, can cause serious eye, ear and choking hazards as fast as a toy shot is fired.
All toys and children’s products are tested against the most stringent national and international standards, developed through years of safety studies and real-life incident data.
Our industry expertise, paired with a desire to focus on further developments in testing validity, will help your toy company maintain the highest safety standards across every market.
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