The Toy Industry Association, together with consumers, government, manufacturers, and retailers, have now unveiled plans for a new toy safety certification program in an attempt to enhance toy safety and restore consumer confidence. After last year’s record number of toy recalls, this new program would implement a comprehensive system or accreditation to ensure that toys sold in the United States adhere to federal and international safety standards.
The certification program would combine three main elements. First, all new toy designs would have to undergo a risk analysis to identify potential safety concerns as early as possible. Secondly, all toy manufacturers would have to undergo reviews of their factories to ensure good manufacturing practices. Lastly, samples of all toys would be taken to make sure that the toys meet industry and government standards for safety.
The program would apply to all toys sold in the United States, regardless of their place of manufacture. After being certified safe by the American national Standards Institute, the toys would be given a toy safety mark. This mark would assure that the product has undergone all the checks required by the certification program.
The program, however, will not be in place until Christmas 2008, and manufacturers are looking for ways to increase consumer confidence in the meantime, especially for this holiday season. Disney has begun testing samples of its toys, both those already on shelves and those scheduled for release. Toys R Us has begun spot checking the toys in its stores and is now increasing the number of these checks on every manufacturer.
Testing is not currently required for toys sold in the United States, though a mark of certification is mandatory in Europe. The Toy Industry Association believes that this program will allow parents to have confidence in the products they buy for their children.