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Toy safety: Do you know what safety labels to look for?

Posted at 5:14 PM, Nov 16, 2018

A tiny label, “ASTM F963” on the side or bottom of a toy’s packaging indicates a toy meets the latest toy safety standards. 

It means the toys have gone through various test methods for choking, sharp edges and other potential hazards.

The label, “ASTM D4236,” is on art toys and means that art materials have been reviewed by a toxicologist. 

Click here to learn more about the ASTM label from U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

TODAY’S TMJ4 went to a Walmart, Target and Family Dollar in Milwaukee County, looking at dozens and dozens of toys. Some had the label, some didn’t. 

All toys sold in the U.S. must meet this standard, but we learned having the label on the toy packaging isn’t required by law. 

“Depending on what that product is exactly, they may or may not contain that safety label because that label is not a specific law required label,” said Michelle Reinen with Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

DATCP said choking is the most frequent cause of toy-related deaths, especially for children under three. 

“It certainly is an important indicator for parents to look for that label because it will provide them information,” said Reinen. “You’ll know that it’s gone through various testing."

Parents we spoke with had never heard of the ASTM label. They said they looked for other warning labels instead. 

“I look for mostly the sign that says choking hazard for kids under a certain age,” said one mom. 

“I used to think that was enough,” said another mom. 

DATCP encourages anyone shopping for toys to also look for warnings indicating small parts, magnets or suffocation hazards. 

We reached out to all three retailers we visited asking them if they think all the toys they sell should have the ASTM label. So far, Walmart has provided a statement. 

“As a part of our product compliance program, we require our products meet all regulatory standards,” said Erica Jones, a spokesperson for Walmart. 

Check out other safety tips from DATCP.