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Ensuring Toy Safety: Support for Consistent, Reliable National Safety Standards

Parents need toys they can trust. Parents, grandparents, child care providers, teachers, and other toy buyers need to know that the toys they purchase are safe for children—no matter where in the United States they buy them.

National standards are preferable to a patchwork of inconsistent state regulations. The most effective way to ensure toy safety is through consistent and reliable national safety standards for all toys sold in the U.S. A patchwork of varying state regulations—some well-reasoned and others based on less rigorous analysis—will not achieve this important goal, and will not give parents and others reason to trust the toys they buy, the toys children receive as gifts, and the toys children use at away-from-home settings. Parents should not have to worry whether to let their children play with gifts they receive from grandparents in other states, or from what state the toys used in their children’s classrooms or at play dates in friends’ homes were purchased.

A state-by-state system puts undue burdens on small, family-owned businesses. A system of confusing and non-uniform standards will place undue burdens on the small, community-based retailing businesses that specialize in selling healthy, developmentally appropriate toys—especially when a system of national standards will more effectively achieve the safety goal. These businesses frequently collaborate with each other across state lines to provide just the right toy for a child’s particular needs, and many sell across state lines via their websites.

National standards ensure access to the healthy play children need. Anything less than a thoughtful national solution to toy safety concerns will fail to protect our children adequately, and may unnecessarily limit their access to the healthy, constructive toys and play that many years of high quality research have shown to be central to their healthy development.

We care deeply about toy safety and we support a federal solution. The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) supports pending federal legislation that will create consistent and reliable national standards for toy design, material content, and safety testing. A federal solution to toy safety can provide uniform standards for all fifty states and consumer protection that is achievable, measurable, and enforceable. These standards can give toy buyers confidence in the products they buy, wherever they are purchased in the United States.


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