6 October 2023

New safety standards protecting young children from choking hazards

Every year in Australia, an estimated 2,500 children under three years old present to hospital emergency departments because of injuries from unsuitable or dangerous toys.

The Albanese Government has approved, following consultation and advice from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), a new mandatory safety standard for toys marketed at children under three years. The new safety standard focuses on minimising choking and suffocation risks for small children.

Toys including rattles and teethers, commonly found in the homes of everyday Australian families, are among the items most often recalled by the ACCC. This is due to small parts that can loosen and pose choking risks to children under three.

The ACCC will enforce the new toy safety standard which will make it mandatory for all toys marketed at children under three to adhere to strict design and testing requirements ensuring toys do not contain small parts.

The standard also seeks to better protect Australian children from the risks of batteries by child‑proofing toys that contain batteries. This goes to ensuring, in particular, that button batteries cannot easily be taken out of toys and swallowed. Button batteries are commonly found in children’s toys and, if ingested, cause catastrophic injury or even death.

The Government is also supporting Australian businesses to comply with the standards by reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens and removing red tape.

Suppliers are now able to comply with either the latest voluntary Australian standard or listed overseas standards. This will save Australian businesses millions of dollars a year by increasing access to global markets and reducing compliance costs, whilst still ensuring toys sold in Australia are held to the highest standard of safety.

Businesses will have up to 18 months to adopt the requirements of the new safety standard.

Australians can find the latest information on product recalls and the product safety standards at the Product Safety Australia website.