Digging around Toy Safety Standards


On Boardgamegeek I got into a conversation about toy safety standards and ended up doing some digging around. Since I end up digging up random regs and technical standards at work, this is pretty familiar process for me.

The question that got me searching was the anecdote that the game Flash Point was rated “12+” because the publisher did not want to pay for the additional costs for toys for 10 year olds. So I started with googling “toy safety for 10 year olds testing” which led to some dross but the following two interesting website:

(as to be expected, wiki has their fingers everywhere)

(as a rule always go to the federal government website)

For those not familiar with safety standards, typically, the technical standards are written by private organizations. Then the government will enact a law that references that technical standard. So in this case, the currently adopted standard is the ASTM F963-11 (the “-11” signifies that its the 2011 edition that was adopted, which makes sense since the most recent law was passed in 2012…as an aside, the Fair Housing Act adopted the ANSI A117.1-1986 handicapped codes and have never updated the regs to reference a more recent one, most current being 2009).

Not a bad index and summary on that page

However the problem is that the American Society of Testing and Materials owns the copyright over their technical standards – so you gotta pay to see the actual contents. So, sometimes the next best thing is to find summaries of the standard (again via google) though now that I know the regulatory agency, I know where to focus.


That said, sometimes industry powerpoints are also good starting points because of the fact that any good powerpoint contains a miniscule amount of content, so its a very quick read.

(from this presentation it seems that the different age levels is about chemical composition which would explain the increasing cost as you go down in age, NB this is pure conjecture)

But going back to the CSPC, it turns out that there was a very good summary page of how things are tested at the bottom of one of the pages. (such a high when you find something like this buried on a website!)

(Not the actual regulation, but a really comprehensive document for how to test those toys and for different ages. Pictures included!)

Now, we still haven’t gotten to the actual document at this point. So the next step is to go to one of my favorite places on the internet – Archive.org. And here’s a gratuitous plug for public.resource.org who was were important in fighting the copyright holders and obtaining the right upload scans safety regulations (because you can’t get governments to adopt a code, but then prevent the public from freely accessing said codes). So in my world, even though the International Code Council owns the copyright to the International Building Code 2012, a scanned PDF is available for download due to the efforts of public.resource.org (which I think actually buys a paper copy and then scans the paper copy).

Unfortunately, unlike Building Codes which are widely adopted and thus end up being needed by more people and thus available online, a search of Archive.org doesn’t turn up any copies of ASTM F963-11 So I fell back to digging around with different search terms in the Archive.org search bar and “toy safety” came up with this super cool little gem.

“Voluntary Product Standard PS 72-76: Toy Safety.” First sentence of the synopsis: “The purpose of this voluntary product standard is to establish nationally recognized safety requirements and test methods for toys intended for use by children in age groups through 14 years.” And if you look at the little two digit numbers…yup the publish date is January 1977!

Well, that’s plenty of reading material…Have fun!

multiple exposure (otp131)

The assignment for OTP 131 was multiple exposure. I don’t have that “feature” on my camera, so I just did it in Photoshop playing with layers and different blend modes. I’m not sure about any of the images that came out, but two I liked well enough and its nice to have in the back of my head for future assignments.

Two shots of the same scene
Two shots of the same scene
two related shots.
Two related shots

a portrait session

Now that Dara can handle a camera on her own, we had a little portrait session this evening.

It took a few tries, but she finally found my head.

Most of it ended up around the knees:



But I really like how this one came out.


leading lines (otp103)

I don’t think this is exactly the prime intention of the assignment, but the OTP crew is pretty loose with the words anyways. This first one came while wandering around Durango High after the Nevada Democratic Caucus, and the second was an ominous flash of light in the bathroom.



greeting card diptych

Happy Valentines!

A few weeks ago we were wandering around Glazier’s supermarket and ended up taking a couple photos at the greeting card aisle. In other related news, I can’t believe its been 3 years since we left Houston and celebrated valentines day eating packaged salad, sitting on the parking lot of Buc-ee’s.

Glaziers Greeting Cards
Glaziers Greeting Cards

Last Shot of 2015

From the kitchen.


(and it actually seems to be the very last shot I took all year…though the post processing was done in 2016…and then backdated to 2015! The magic of the internet!)

Signature (otp196)

When I took my first photo class ten years ago I had a 2.1 megapixel Nikon point and shoot. Even then it was out of date. However my professor, told me if I was willing to learn he was ready to teach whatever gear I had. With the low pixel count, and without the DOF control of an SLR … heck it had nothing better than just basic exposure compensation … it was a slow start for that class as I battled the limitations of the gear.

Like OTP, the class was a series of weekly assignments. After a couple months I finally found my groove. Everything came together when I realized that my best work came from getting an extreme angle (usually low), getting (very) close and getting a lot of shots. Maybe it was a glorified version of spray and pray but it led to some nice photos.

Qi Ma (Yang)
Qi Ma (Yang)

With this assignment I decided to revisit this #signature process, this time using my more hot new gear (the good old Nikon D40) and my contemporary subject (the toddler!) … and like Frank White’s photo class I’m turning in my contact sheets and a couple extra selects for your reviewing pleasure.

Contact 1
Contact 1
Contact 2
Contact 2
Contact 3
Contact 3
Contact 4
Contact 4



Postscript: While going through the photos, I was reminded of an even earlier class – my first architecture studio which also had a weekly drawing assignment. Like the photo class I also spent the first half of the semester flailing about but everything came together the midterm assignment “coat, desk, chair”. And surprise, it came together just as it did ten years later in that photo class … by getting low, getting close, and getting a lot of shots till I hit the final.

Coat Desk Chair
Coat Desk Chair

cdc rough 3.06

cdc thumb det 3.06