Who Is Responsible for Ensuring Children’s Toys Are Safe?

Madeleine Jones
December 14, 2016

Ensuring that children’s toys present as little risk as possible is an immense responsibility that does not belong to any one organization, agency, or industry. While the US Consumer Product Safety Commission authors many of the laws regarding standards and regulations for children’s toys, states can create more detailed laws. Companies across several industries are responsible for meeting and exceeding the requirements, as well as executing recalls if toys are found to be defective. Distributors ensure that toys are not exposed to threats during shipments. The right Las Vegas injury lawyer will ensure that companies that neglect to fulfill their responsibilities are held accountable for that negligence for all federal and state requirements that they failed to meet. While there are different laws that apply within each state, an experienced Las Vegas injury lawyer understands how state specific laws supplement and support federal regulations.

The Role of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has written many of the safety standards that companies and toy makers must follow to ensure that toys are safe and age appropriate. With some of the strictest rules and regulations in the world, the standards that the CPSC set are considered a model used by many other countries to keep children’s toys safe.

Standards and specifications have been written for various aspects of the toy industry. These include:

  • a comprehensive standard for a wide range of potential hazards, such as toy coatings, small parts, projections, and squeeze toys
  • standards that must be adhered to for home playgrounds
  • guidance for all specifications associated with toy chests

Even something as apparently harmless as laser pointers are subject to rules and restrictions.

Other Toy Rules, Regulations, and Standards

With the potential for nearly anything to be a toy, the CPSC takes the lead for standards and specification. However, other agencies and divisions provide guidance specific to different industries.

For example, the American National Standards Institute writes standards for many industries. Their publication on tricycles (ANSI Z315.1-2012) applies to toys, although that is not the sole purpose of the requirements.

Many states have their own toy requirements, such as:

  • The Stuffed Toy Licensing and Labeling Laws — enforced in three states (Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Ohio)
  • The Hazardous Consumer Products Registration — a Texas regulation that pertains to many items produced or sold within the state

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) works with the CPSC. Together, the agencies work to ensure that toys are safe for children, regardless of where the toys originated. The collaboration helps to ensure that toys brought into the US meet the same standards and requirements that apply to toys made within the country.

The Responsibilities of Companies, Toy Makers, and Individuals

Any company or individual that makes and sells toys must comply with all applicable laws and regulations. They must follow laws regarding production, testing, and shipping. In the event that their products are found to be defective or dangerous, companies must react to minimize the risk and dangers.

It is also the responsibility of individuals to report problems and dangers. Parents should register purchases that come with an option to register. If a child is harmed or a problem found, the parent, guardian, or another adult should immediately report the problem. They can also monitor for potential problems through organizations like Safe Kids Worldwide. By staying current on dangers and risks, adults can reduce problems within their own communities.

Individuals have a lot of influence over what dangers receive attention. Acting on potential issues can help save lives before agencies and toy makers are aware of a larger problem.

Las Vegas Injury Lawyer

As all states have their own mandates regarding toys, the role of your lawyer is obvious yet critical. The failure of companies to follow all applicable laws can have regrettable results. The problems caused by noncompliance may be immediate or it could take a while for symptoms to show. With toy standards and regulations being so diverse and complex, it is impossible for those outside of the legal profession to know which standards and requirements apply. Lawyers provide the assistance required to navigate all of the nuances and complexities of the rules, regulations, and standards of the toy industry.