The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has published a list of proposed changes to its age determination guidelines relating children’s ages to toy characteristics and play behavior. Age labeling provides parents and other consumers guidance on selecting proper toys for children. The CPSC’s new guidance, “Guidelines for Determining Age Appropriateness of Toys,” is intended to address toys “that have come onto the market since the last update and provide changes to the recommended age group for certain classic toys.”

The guidance proposal has been made via Federal Register notice on March 27, a normal regulatory procedure. Next steps are a commenting period and then a final decision.

Along with new toys that have come to market since the CPSC last released age determination guidelines, the draft’s updates also acknowledge changes in consumer behavior and how children access toys. Its findings are based on literature reviews, surveys of parents and an observational study of 243 children from one to eight years old. CPSC staff also consulted with the Child and Family Research Section staff at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Each level of the guidelines represents an increasing amount of detail. The revisions make recommendations for age-grading certain familiar products such as large basketball hoops, microscopes, and colorful wooden blocks. The new draft also makes recommendations for some newer products including magnetic puzzles, wooden trains with magnetic pieces, and play touchscreen phones.

The CPSC’s draft guidance can be found here.