Developed in conjunction with Joomla extensions.


Toy Safety

Toy safety is the practice of ensuring that toys, especially those made for children, are safe, usually through the application of set safety standards. In many countries, commercial toys must be able to pass safety tests in order to be sold.

New Zealand has several toys safety Standards that set out general safety, constructional, toxicological, and flammability requirements for toys. These are adopted from international standards and reflect internationally accepted best practice in the area of toy safety.

New Zealand Toy Safety

Our toy safety standards also cover a number of key areas, for example toys that are intended or suitable for use by under threes are required to not have small parts that can be pulled apart from, or break off the toy. They also establish an acceptable size for toys for under threes and set up a range of tests that products must be able to pass, such as a bite test and drop test, without small parts breaking off.

Under the Product Safety Standards (Children's Toys) Regulations 2005 all people involved in the manufacture, distribution and retail of toys for children up to and including the age of 36 months must comply with specified parts of AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 Safety of toys - Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties. This includes the sale, exchange, lease, hire and hire purchase of toys, as well as ‘giveaways’, such as toys given away as prizes at side-show stalls, toys which are gifts with purchase of other goods and toys in breakfast cereal packets. Private sales of second-hand toys are not covered.

New Zealand’s toy safety Standards are:

  • AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 Safety of toys – Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties
  • AS/NZS ISO 8124.2:2003 Safety of toys – Flammability
  • AS/NZS ISO 8124.3:2003 Safety of toys – Migration of certain elements

Safety is fundamental to the development and manufacture of toys, regardless of whether they are created by a research and development team at a manufacturing company, by a firm specialising in developing new products or by an individual inventor on his or her kitchen table. At the earliest stages, many designers utilise information from sources including parents, psychologists, educators and other child development specialists. This background provides valuable clues as to what consumers are looking for when they purchase toys, how children learn through play and when youngsters are physical and cognitively ready for certain types of toys. Children themselves also frequently test toys in focus or theme groups to determine durability, age-appropriateness, play patterns and marketability. A detailed evaluation of a product's safety is made upon completion of the very first prototype and updated as the toy nears production.

Australian and New Zealand toy safety standards (following the approximate model of the European Toy Safety Standard) have been adopted by the ISO as International Standard ISO 8124. Toy safety standards are continually updated and modified as the understanding of risks increases and new products are developed.

How do I keep my play environment safe?

  • Age ratings - never mix toys meant for children of different ages. It can be dangerous for younger children to get hold of toys that are too old for them.
  • The toy box - have a regular clear out of your toy boxes to check loose fur, ripped seams, sharp or rough edges, loose eyes and noses, broken parts that may cause choking. If you find broken or damaged toys, throw them away. Please don't pass them on - you may be handing on an accident to another parent's child.
  • Tidy up! - it may sound obvious, but toys left on the floor or the stairs can cause accidents for the entire family.
  • Cot toys – take string toys out of the cot when your baby is about five months old to prevent strangulation. Remove activity centres as soon as your baby can pull to stand.
  • Battery toys – always change all batteries at once. New batteries can cause old batteries to get dangerously hot.
  • Garden toys – fix garden toys over grass or soil, never concrete. Make sure there is plenty of room to walk around a swing to avoid being hit by the swing seat. Empty paddling pools after use and store them deflated or upside down.

What should I look for when buying toys?


Toys are required to carry warnings for specific hazards. The warning symbol means ‘do not give to children less than 3 years nor allow them to play with it’. It relates to a specific hazard, such as choking, that may harm your child. It is not an indication of skill level.

Age Advice

Virtually all toy packages include suggested ages for use. The child's chronological age, physical size, skill level and maturity, as well as safety, are taken into consideration in developing age labels for different types of toys. Remember however, that there is no substitute, at any age, for appropriate adult supervision.


Always buy your toys from reputable retailers and avoid street traders, car boot sales and fairgrounds. Don’t be afraid to ask the retailer for safety advice. Look out for small parts, loose fur, ripped seams and sharp or rough edges and be certain that eyes and noses are secure and can not be bitten or pulled off.