Mumtrepreneurs are on the rise! Living the dream and creating wonderful creative designs, all from the comfort of their own home and within reach of a well earned glass of wine. At the forefront of this new movement are baby teether toys. While there are exciting new opportunities to be had, there are also a few important details which need to be handled first, such as ensuring product safety compliance.
The Australian toy safety standard
In Australia, all toys for children up to and including 36 months old are covered by mandatory safety standards. For the purpose of classification, teethers are considered baby toys and are also subject to the same safety standards.
The mandatory standard was created to reduce the risk of small parts coming off toys during play or after reasonable wear and tear. It also covers details such as toxicity and the overall size/shape of the toy. The objective of these standards is to help prevent choking, suffocation, or other harm caused to young children. It is an offence in Australia to provide a baby toy which is not compliant with the mandatory standards.
Where to find safety standard information
Detailed information about voluntary and mandatory safety requirements for infant toys can found in the standards document AS/NZS ISO 8124. This document needs to be referenced in conjunction with current legislation, which will indicate the sections of the standard that are mandated for compliance. Current legislation can be found on the Federal Register of Legislation website here: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2008C00607
Unfortunately the actual standards document AS/NZS ISO 8124 which is referenced in the legislation is under copy-right by SAI Global, and as such is not free nor is it permitted to be shared.
Toy safety requirements include
The mandatory toy safety standard specifies procedures for testing which should be conducted by specialist testing laboratories. These tests are highly specific and precise so there is no variability between tests and results.
While infant toys can come in many shapes, forms, sizes, and materials, testing ensures that neither the toy itself, nor any piece which can be liberated under specified conditions, is small enough to pose a choking hazard if a child put the item in their mouth. This size requirement for small parts is roughly the same as a 35mm film canister (that is if you can remember back when there was film…).
Durability testing covers details such as resilience to dropping, contortion, pressure, and pulling.
Avoid confusing standards
Keep in mind that there are a number of safety standards which apply to baby products in Australia. While toys, blocks, teethers, rattles, pram and cot attachments, (and so much more) are covered by the above mentioned standard, other items such as Soother Holders (aka Dummy Chains) have a different standard of their own.
Lab certification to ensure compliance
Details in the safety standards and testing procedures are very specific, using precise numbers measured in pounds of pressure per square inch, and with other requirements that are very difficult or impossible to assess at home without specialised testing equipment. However this is where certified lab testing services come in to fill the breach.
Testing labs will typically ask for a duplicate sample of the product to examine and certify against each section of the toy safety standard. When a product passes you are provided with an official certification document to keep. In the event of a product failing the test, you will be provided with specific information about what section(s) of the standard were not met and for what reason.
Individual parts certification vs finished product testing.
Sometimes people may be confused by what it means to purchase individual components such as beads or cord, which may be individually tested for safety standards, and how that relates to when a product is constructed using them. While you should ensure to buy components which are certified to be quality and non-toxic, always keep in mind that the certification of a product will be determined once the item is fully assembled. Potentially, items which have certifications for individual components may create a final constructed product which does not meet all of the toy safety requirements. There would be nothing worse though than to do everything right in designing and constructing your product, only for it to fail safety compliance due to inferior or toxic components which are used.
For certified non-toxic supplies, shop at TeethingBabyAustralia.com.au