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Age determination is the first and most important step in toy development. Harmonizing age grading principles around the world is a prerequisite for assessing requirements in standards in the same way. Globally accepted age grading guidelines are an important step forward in global alignment.

Harmonization is always a tricky process. For years the toy industry and regulators have been trying to align standards, such as CEN 71 and ASTM F963, into ISO 8124 – an umbrella standard for many aspects of toy safety. Though not yet completely successful, ISO 8124 Part 8: Age Determination Guidelines1 – has successfully harmonized these standards and will now act as a baseline, from which to focus efforts on applying correct safety requirements.

SGS has been integral to this process, with our toy expert Sanda Stefanovic playing an active role for the EU, leading the CEN committee through the alignment and adoption process.

Published on February 1, 2016, ISO/TR 8124-8:2016 is a Technical Report that provides manufacturers, and those agencies that evaluate toys for compliance with safety guidelines and standards, with an internationally acceptable and consistent guideline that can be applied in all markets. It has been devised to help them to determine the lowest age at which children may be expected to start playing with toys in specific toy sub-categories.

In addition, this Technical Report can be used by distributors, institutions, and organizations involved in toys, as well as by pediatric institutions, teachers, other professionals who use toys in their routine activities, and consumers, as a reference to determine the appropriateness for use of toys, by earliest age.

ISO/TR 8124-8:2016 provides guideline age ranges, during which a typical child develops certain skills and abilities. Children’s skills and abilities define the risks children may be exposed to and as such are essential to set safety requirements for toys.

Safety Standards

Age grading is the first step to defining the suitability of toys. After identifying the appropriate age grade using ISO/TR 8124-8:2016, or other guidance, ISO 8124 can be used to define the specific safety requirements. ISO 8124 is an eight-part series of safety standards, and parts 1 to 7 deal with specific aspects and details of product safety, including:

  • Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties
  • Part 2: Flammability
  • Part 3: Migration of certain elements
  • Part 4: Swings, slides and similar activity toys for indoor and outdoor family domestic use
  • Part 5: Determination of total concentration of certain elements in toys
  • Part 6: Certain phthalate esters in toys and children's products
  • Part 7: Requirements and test methods for finger paints 
  • Part 8: Age determination guidelines

Second Edition Cancels ISO 8124:2014

ISO/TR 8124-8: 2016, supersedes the first edition (ISO/TR 8124-8:2014). The new version includes a number of technical revisions, and marks the point at which CEN 71 and ASTM F963 are harmonized within the same document. International Standardization Organization (ISO) committee ISO/TC181, Safety of Toys, which was drawn from member bodies, and informed by international organizations both governmental and non-governmental, conducted the review and completed the update.

Age Determination in Action

SGS has an extensive network of toy testing laboratories and experts. Our age grading evaluation services guide clients through the maze of legislation, to ensure that products not only meet regulatory requirements but also meet broader standards of age-appropriate safety and usability. A toy classification assessment can include a product review and advice on whether the grading is appropriate, with advice on the correct age grading for new products or products in development, as well as consultancy on how to meet regulatory requirements.
 
In addition, our network can deliver all the necessary testing to demonstrate full compliance to EU2; US and global toy requirements3.

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For further information, please contact:

Christophe Boisnard
Toy Expert
Consumer and Retail
SGS France
t: +33 4 42 61 64 51