Legal implications of home made toys

I read a couple years ago about new US regulations on toys that required some kind of expensive up front safety testing. I was wondering if any designers out there know how this effects home made toy makers?


I read about it recently.
Basically it said that if your home made toy is made from wood and left unfinished (no paint) testing is not mandatory.

They mainly test for lead content in paint and phalates content in plastics/rubbers. If your product contains any of these you have to test it.

There was something about small parts too…safest way to avoid trouble there is to mark your products suitable for ages 3+.

This potentially very expensive testing has put one of my own ideas on hold. Small volume manufacturing just isn`t profitable that way :frowning:

I’d do it like urban vinyl toys, kidrobot stuff, and just make it 16+ or something.

Coffee: That sounds good for me. However, is staining considered painting too? If not, another kid-safety question: what kind of stains can I use that are toy safe?


Personally, I think if you’re planning on selling the products to a lot of people, any money you paid a safety consultant would be well worth it. It’s just part of the cost of doing business.

I’ve been in the toy industry 15 years and can still never fully anticipate safety issues. I’ve thought about getting some of my own ideas produced in the future & will definitely get some professional safety advice before putting anything out into the world in any significant quantity. That said, stuff I make in my home wood shop just for my kids, I don’t do any safety testing on. I feel confident that they are safe and I know that my kids are well supervised. But you never know what’s going to happen with something you create once it leaves your hands. And people in the US are ridiculously litigious.

Former professor of mine make and sells furniture. These are along the lines of custom one-off board room tables, chairs, desks, dressers, etc. He has to carry a $2million insurance policy just in case something fails that he sells, and they come back to sue him.

Now, put peoples kids into the mix…

I’ve had this idea for awhile. I’m thinking of doing just 100 home built and sell them on ebay or something. Just for the experience of doing a new product entirely myself.

I will definitely test a few myself doing everything a 3 year old would do. I think I still have access to my immature child inside;)

Having said that, if it ended up being a huge hit and selling out quickly for a reasonable price, I might look into growing it. Time will tell. I’m still very far from even having a prototype, so I won’t hold my breath.

I think stains are considered the same as paint, not 100% sure though.

Water based stains and paints should be the safest around. But some of those stains require covering with clearcoat/lacquer, otherwise the toy will leave “colorful” marks everywhere.

Coffee: I think the same thing. I think I’m going to shop attractive woods un-stained.

Thanks all!

Late to the party, as usual…

There was something about small parts too…safest way to avoid trouble there is to mark your products suitable for ages 3+.

Changed to 12 and under … apparently the Consumer Product Safety Act was “improved” in 2011.

So, if a “child” is 12, or under, defining “Children’s Products” is a major issue; electronic “toys” contain lead solder, children’s books contain ink (and residual solvents), etc. One thing is guaranteed though, the up-swell in third-party testing labs, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) budget ($130M this year) and employees hired to watch all of this are in making money…

I haven’t read through this yet, but The Hand Made Toy Alliance would seem to be a good resource.
edit- not sucha good resource, but more of a place to vent frustration, and an avenue to change legislation… :unamused:

Sheesh… how did Gepetto ever make a living?

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act