Toy Safety

As a members of The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) and The Neighborhood Toy Stores of Canada (NETS), we are committed to protecting children from any harm, especially through the use of toys we sell.  The removal of unsafe products from homes and the marketplace is of the utmost importance to us.  We’re not just toy store owners; we’re parents too and share your concerns.  The Granville Island Toy Company receives daily e-mail notifications from several sources to ensure the products on our shelves are safe for your children to play with. 

Here are some of the sources we use that you can check out too!

American Specialty Toy Retailing Association

Neighborhood Toy Stores of Canada  

Health Canada Consumer Product Safety (Toy Safety)

U.S. Government Site (US Recalls)



Often, you will see various symbols on the packages of toys.  What do all those symbols mean?  Good question!  Here are some of the explanations:


Without the CE symbol, a toy cannot circulate in the European Union – which has some of the toughest standards in the world.

The CE mark represents a supplier’s statement that its toys meet the safety requirements of the European Toy Safety Directive, and that such toys are therefore entitled to free movement throughout the European Union.  All suppliers with the CE symbol on their products must maintain a technical file which contains the description of what the supplier has done to ensure that its products comply with the law.  All toys that carry this mark are phthalate free and a strict limit of lead content has to be met.

The American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) F963 standards go one step further than the safety measures already required under U.S Federal law.  They include additional guidelines and test methods to prevent injuries from choking, sharp edges and other potential hazards.  It also sets strict limits on lead content in children’s products and all toys need to be phthalate free (not exceeding 0.1%).

The Lion Mark is a symbol of safety and quality, backed by a Code of Practice and developed by the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) in 1988. It is used only by members of this association. Toys bearing the Lion Mark have been made to the highest standards currently in force in Britain and the European Community (BS 5665/BS EN 71). It is a symbol of toy safety and quality for the consumer.

The 0-3 symbol means a toy contains small parts or other characteristics that makes it unsuitable for children under 3 years.  


The Green Dot (or Der Grune Punkt) is primarily a European (German) recycle symbol. It means that the manufacturer of the packaging has paid an amount as contribution or license fee to a national recycling effort geared towards full recovery of packaging material and promotion of easy-to-recycle components in packaging.



Q.  What else can I do to ensure my child’s toys are safe?

A.  Here's a few pointers:

  • If you’re giving a toy to a child under 3, check the toy thoroughly for small, removable parts.  A child under 3 should never be given, or have access to a toy that could fit in a 35mm camera film container.
  • Watch those “well-loved” hand-me downs.  Regularly check the condition of your children’s toys for any signs of wear and tear.  Loose or torn components can come off, posing a choking hazard to a little one.
  • Did you know one of the most common household accidents is tripping on a toy?  Teaching your child to put their toys away does more than teach them responsibility in keeping their rooms/play areas tidy – it helps prevent accidents too!
  • Don’t use toys as “babysitters”.  It’s always a good idea to supervise children while they are playing.  It helps reduce the risk of toy-related accidents!


Q.  You say you’re a member of The Neighborhood Toy Stores of Canada (NETS) what does that mean?

A.  As a member of NETS, we are committed to providing a superior source of quality, educational toys within our communities and having the information required to allow parents to make a knowledgeable and safe decision for their children.  NETS is a national network of almost 100 independently owned specialty toy stores and suppliers who work together to provide you with a superior source of quality toys.


Q.  What makes a specialty toy store different than say, a big box retailer?

A.  Glad you asked!  Customer service and product knowledge is what distinguishes a specialty independent toy store from a more volume-oriented chain or big box store.  In a NETS member store, the people who stock the shelves are the same ones who order the products and we order by choice, not by volume.  That means we can tell you what we and our customers like about a specific product, why we chose to have it in the store and which children like it best.  This means we know our stock inside out and can answer your questions, including those involving safety testing.  If we don’t know the answer, then it’s an excellent question and we’ll find the answer for you.  

It’s important to the staff at The Granville Island Toy Company that your shopping experience with us is a good one and that you’re happy.  If you have ANY concerns whatsoever about the safety of our product, please get in touch.