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Why are small parts dangerous?
Small parts of a toy pose a risk of choking by blocking the airway at the back of the child’s mouth and upper throat. This kind of hazard is particularly significant for children under 36 months. The requirements of (U.S.) 16 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1501 state, in part, “that no toy (including removable, liberated components, or fragments of toys) shall be small enough without being compressed to fit entirely within a cylinder of the specified dimensions.”
In 2019, seven toys in the U.S. were recalled due to a choking hazard cause by a small part detaching from a product.

How to define small parts?
If the product (or separate part) fits completely into the small parts cylinder, it will be defined as a small part. Small parts in toys are not suitable for children under 3 years of age.

There are exemptions, like paper, fabric, elastics, yarn, strings, fuzz, crayons and chalk, as per certain testing methods.

Per ASTM F963-17, Sec 5.3 Safety Labeling Requirements — Certain toys, and in some cases their packaging or their instructions, or both, are required to carry safety labeling to comply with this specification. Sec 5.3.1 states that required safety labeling shall consist of an alert symbol (an exclamation mark within an equilateral triangle), a signal word (CAUTION or WARNING), and text that describes the hazard that is present. Additionally, safety labeling may contain text about what to do or not to do to avoid injury (for example, “Keep out of baby’s reach”).
Per ASTM F963-17, Sec 5.11.2 — For toys and games intended for children at least 3 years old but less than 6 years of age, and which contain as-received small part(s), the labeling shall read:

According to ASTM F963-17, the manufacturer shall mark the warnings in a clearly visible, easily legible, understandable and accurate manner on the toy, on an affixed label or on the packaging and, if appropriate, on the instructions for use that accompany the toy. Small toys that are sold without packaging shall have appropriate warnings affixed to them.

Suggested testing package
To evaluate the choking hazard related to small parts, please refer to ASTM F963-17 section 4.6 or 16 CFR 1501.

To learn more visit SAFETY OF TOYS – Insights into 2019 recalls in United States 
or contact us.