To reduce the risk of children choking while playing with a toy, children’s toys must be of a specified size, and not contain small parts designed to be removed from the toy or small pieces that break off easily. In general the Product Safety Standard for Children's Toys applies to toys with characteristics that will appeal to a child up to 36 months of age.

What are the rules?

The rules apply to all toys manufactured, designed, labelled or marketed for use by children up to and including 36 months of age. The rules apply even if the toys are also manufactured, designed, labelled or marketed for use by children older than 36 months.

What toys are covered by the rules?

This is not a complete list, but these types of toys are listed in the regulations and are likely to be covered by the rules:

  • rattles, dummies, teethers, squeeze toys
  • toys that come attached to a crib, stroller, play-pen or baby carriage
  • push and pull toys, pounding toys, blocks and stacking toys, toys for use in baths, wading pools and sand
  • rocking, spring and stick horses or other figures
  • musical chime toys, jacks-in-the-box, stuffed, plush or flocked animals and other figures
  • games and puzzles
  • dolls
  • toy cars and trucks.

The regulations do not apply to these toys:

  • balloons
  • bicycles with a wheel base smaller than 640mm
  • books and other items made of paper
  • cassette tapes, compact discs, DVDs and records
  • dummies and pacifiers (other than toy dummies and toy pacifiers)
  • paints, paint brushes and other painting tools
  • flotation aid toys for use in water
  • marbles
  • modelling materials including clay, plasticine and playdough
  • playground equipment for parks, schools and domestic use, eg, swings, seesaws, slides, sand pits, sliding poles and ladders
  • toys made solely from porous material such as cheesecloth
  • writing materials including crayons, chalk, pencils and pens.

The regulations also do not apply to unassembled toys that when put together by an adult who follows the supplied written instructions will meet the requirements set out in the Standard.

Further details are available from the Standards NZ website.

Who do the rules apply to?

Any person in trade supplying, offering to supply or advertising to supply new or second-hand toys.

This includes:

  • the sale of toys
  • 'give-aways' such as prizes at side-show stalls
  • toys which are gifts when buying other goods
  • toys given away in breakfast cereal packets.
  • toys sold through internet retail or auction sites - this includes any person in trade supplying second-hand toys.

The regulations do not apply to private sellers of second-hand toys.

What to look out for

When buying toys for young children, ask yourself "Does the toy have characteristics that will appeal to a child up to 36 months of age?"

For a general guide, if a child is:

  • physically capable of using the toy as it is intended to be used
  • intellectually capable of using the toy as it is intended to be used
  • interested in playing with the toy

then the toy is for children up to 36 months of age.

Read more about children's toys PDF (6 MB)

Make a complaint

If you think a toy has breached the safety standard, you can make a complaint to us.