The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a notice of requirements that third-party assessment bodies must meet to be accredited to test children’s products for conformity with certain ASTM International toy safety standards. The requirements were effective August 3, 2011, and comments are requested by September 2. Third-party conformity assessment bodies, among other things, must be accredited by an accreditation body that is a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation-Mutual Recognition Arrangement.

Toy manufacturers must ensure that toys subject to ASTM F-963-08 and section 4.27 of ASTM F 963-07ε1 are tested for compliance by a CPSC-acceptable third-party laboratory beginning with toys manufactured after December 31. Based on the results of those third-party tests, the manufacturers must issue a written children’s product certificate that certifies the toys’ compliance with applicable requirements. See Federal Register, August 3, 2011.

In a related matter, CPSI has issued a draft strategic outreach plan designed to help small businesses and other stakeholders “learn about testing and certification requirements for children’s toys and toy chests and their compliance with ASTM International” standards. The purpose of the plan is to provide “clear and detailed information to enable [affected parties] to plan and act accordingly and make more informed and timely business decisions.” CPSC plans to post information about the plan and the toy safety standard on its Website by September 30.

According to CPSC, the outreach will involve three stages that will (i) inform stakeholders about the toy safety testing and certification requirements through traditional and social media, as well as via trade publications and organizations; (ii) provide “frequently asked questions” (FAQs) and examples, perhaps through instructional videos and Webinars, to help stakeholders better understand requirements; and (iii) promote higher rates of compliance through ongoing education at trade shows, conferences and international meetings. CPSC seeks comments on the most effective way to identify stakeholders, the tools necessary to explain the new rules to them, and trade magazines and other publications aimed at the toy industry. CPSC requests comments 45 days after publication in the Federal Register.