Overview of Changes to ASTM F963 Toy Safety Standard

On October 13, 2023, a new version of the ASTM F963 Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety was published (ASTM F963-23) and subsequently approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Toys that are produced on or after April 20, 2024 for distribution in the U.S. will need to comply with this updated standard.  Significant revisions to the standard are listed below.

The ASTM F963 Toy Safety Standard

ASTM F963 has long been a key standard for toy safety testing. This standard addresses safety requirements for toys which are any objects designed, manufactured, or marketed as a plaything for children under 14 years of age (excluding products listed in Annex A).

Section 4.3.5: Requirements for Heavy Elements

  • Specified the materials which are exempt from the heavy elements in substrate testing and certification requirements. These exemptions are aligned with CPSC determinations.
    • Paper and paperboard are listed as a specific entry regarding their exemption from testing.
    • Added a note for accessibility considerations for paints, coatings, electroplating and fabric coverings.

Section Requirements for Process Water

  • Added most recent edition of the USP <1231> as alternative test method.

Section 4.3.8: Requirements for Phthalates

  • Revised to align with CPSC phthalates requirement.
    • Removed the expired test method ASTM D3421 and replaced it with the CPSC test method (CPSC-CH-C001-09.4 or most recent revision).
    • Revised the requirement for DEHP content in pacifiers, rattles, and teethers (3% of total solid content) to the current federal phthalates requirement 16 CFR 1307 and specified applicability of this requirement to toys.
    • References the material determinations, as codified, that do not require third-party testing for phthalates.

Section 4.5: Requirements for Acoustics  

  • Added use and abuse tests for sound-producing toys intended for children ages 8 years to 14 years. The use and abuse test requirements for children aged 36 to 96 months of age are applied for this purpose.
  • Specified that if the toy has features that fit into multiple categories, it should be tested to all applicable requirements. Toys that do not fit in any listed categories should conform to the most appropriate requirements.
  • Revised the categories to provide clear distinction between different types of toys and reduce the likelihood of inconsistency in determining the appropriate test methods and sound limits. The categories are as follows:
    • Close-to-the-ear Toys
    • Hand-held Toys
    • Rattles
    • Stationary or Self-propelled Tabletop, Floor, or Crib Toys
    • User-propelled Tabletop, Floor, or Crib Toys
    • Push or Pull Toys
    • Toys Using Explosive Action
  • Definitions for push or pull toys and tabletop, floor, or crib toys have been clarified to clearly define the use distances for each product.  Adjustments have been made to ensure acceptable sound pressure levels at the ear and test methods have been indicated to improve testing repeatability. Additionally, a maximum A-weighted (LAFmax) sound pressure level has been clarified for push or pull toys.

Section 4.25: Requirements for Battery Accessibility of Battery-Operated Toys

  • Updated the accessibility requirements for batteries that are small parts to apply to all toys for up to 14 years using the test parameters for children over 36 months to 96 months. Previously these were only applicable up to age 8.
  • Added the requirement for all toys that utilize batteries which fit completely within the small parts test cylinder should not be accessible without the use of a common household tool to access the battery(ies).
  • Requires battery compartment fasteners to remain attached to the toy or battery compartment cover before and after abuse tests to avoid loss of the fastener (“captive screw”).
  • Allowed the use of a specialty fastener to secure the battery compartment if the appropriate tool and instructional information are included with the toy as per Section 6.9, Instructional Literature.

Section 4.40: Requirements for Expanding Materials  

  • Added that the requirements of this section also apply to the following items that are not small parts “as received” but present a similar risk:
    • Components of a toy which are small parts but are encased in an outer covering that is not a small part. The outer covering is intended to be dissolved in liquid, opened, or broken by the child to reveal the inner expanding component.
    • Components received by the consumer in an expanded state that are not small parts but have the potential to contract in size (such as during storage) and yield a re-expandable small part.

Section 5.1.2: Federal Government Requirements for Label

  • Updated to include the CPSC Tracking Label requirement per Section 14(a)(5) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA, 15 U.S.C. §2063(a)(5)).

Section 8.14: Projectiles

  • Removed storage conditions for improvised projectiles to align with similar standards.
  • Updated requirements for bow and arrows by including a requirement for the amount that the string can be stretched during the test to determine the velocity of the bow and arrow.

Appendix A

Products that are not covered by ASTM F963:

  1. Bicycle / tricycles
  2. Non-powered scooters
  3. Recreational powered scooters / pocket bikes
  4. Sling shots / sharp-pointed darts
  5. Playground equipment
  6. Non-powder guns
  7. Kites
  8. Hobby and craft item which the finished item is not primarily of play value
  9. Model kit which the finished item is not primarily of play value
  10. Crayon, paints, chalks and other similar art materials in which the material itself or the finished item is not primarily of play value, except that all art materials, whether or not a component of a toy, must comply with LHAMA
  11. Sporting goods / Camping goods / Athletic equipment / Musical instruments / Juvenile products / Furniture (However toys that are their counterparts are covered)
  12. Powered models of aircraft / Rockets / Boats / Land vehicles (However toys that are their counterparts are covered)
  13. Constant air inflatables