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USA: CPSC publishes 2020 Age Determination Guidelines

FEBRUARY 2020 – RELEVANT FOR: TOYS AND CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS

In 2018, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a draft Age Determination Guidelines for Toys1 to request public comments on the report. In January, the CPSC published the 2020 version of Age Determination Guidelines: Relating Consumer Product Characteristics to the Skills, Play Behaviors, and Interests of Children (2020 Guidelines)2. The scope of the 2020 Guidelines has been expanded beyond toys to cover children’s products as well. It will supersede the Age Determination Guidelines for Toys published in 20023, from 1st June 2020.

The revision of the Guidelines was based on the research performed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), public comments received, and age grading by the CPSC.

One of the main focuses of this revision is related to technology. A new category – “Technology Play” has been introduced in the 2020 Guidelines to group the following sub-categories together: Smart Toys & Educational Software, Computer & Video Games, and Audiovisual Equipment. The CPSC has updated the entire category by referencing the new research on children’s play with technology. New products – games on touchscreen devices and karaoke machines have also been added as examples.

Owing to the rapidly changing toy market, various categories now include more products. The category “Building Play” has been revised to include some innovative products such as suction cup building pieces and wooden blocks with internal magnet connectors. Other new products such as spherical crayons, foam clay, animatronic interactive animal, bubble guns, floor piano, floor launcher and table hockey have also been added into different categories.

During this revision, a number of goals to be achieved in the future have been identified. The CPSC wishes to increase the number of toys assessed and carry out further study on new toy technologies as well as outdoor, water and media-based toys. Further research would be devoted to younger and older age groups, children’s play behaviours in long-term play and play with partners. It is also recommended to gather information about toy selling on online shopping platform, factors impacting consumer decision making, rationale behind manufacturers’ age grading, etc.

[1] USA: CPSC seeks comments on Age Guideline for Toys, March 2018

[2] Age Determination Guidelines, January 2020

[3] Age Determination Guidelines, September 2002

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