Product Quality and Safety

Product quality and safety are key to the bedrock of trust we establish with millions of families who buy and play with our products every day. The development and construction of new products involves numerous disciplines and multiple areas of expertise devoted to ensuring the quality and safety of our products before they go to market, as well as ensuring they meet or exceed all applicable standards.

Our Global Quality, Product Safety & Regulatory Team (Quality Team) is responsible for ensuring product compliance with consumer product safety requirements and regulations enacted by national, state, and worldwide government agencies and is involved across a product’s life cycle.

 

Mattel’s Quality Team is comprised of approximately 450 professionals and overseen by our Head of Product Quality, Safety, and Compliance. It includes engineers, product safety specialists, compliance experts, test laboratory personnel, child development experts, and others involved in product development and manufacturing. They are responsible for the overall Mattel quality system, safety compliant management, product risk management, governmental safety reporting, recall management, auditing of quality systems, regulatory assurance, and ethical and social compliance.

 

The Quality Team documents the requirements and specifications that each product must meet, including regulatory and voluntary standards, as well as internally developed safety and testing standards that are based on years of experience producing children’s products.

 

A separate group of external safety experts, including researchers, designers, engineers, physicians, and scientists, provide additional perspective to ensure that our products meet or exceed the highest required safety standards anywhere our toys are sold. We take into consideration the materials we use, how the product may be used, how the pieces fit, how the parts move, and how the electronics function, among other factors. 

Our Five Phases of Product Safety

Phase 1‣ Concept Review

Mattel’s Quality Team guides our product designers on quality and safety standards based on applicable regulations, consumer feedback, incident reports, and internally developed protocols. This becomes the basis of our product requirements documents, which the Product Development Team uses to develop future products. Our Medical and Scientific Safety Council provides insights into parental and pediatric concerns to ensure safety while fostering innovation and creativity.

 

Phase 2‣ Design and Development

The Quality Team provides direction to the Product Development Team on safety, quality, reliability, and durability, and oversees product testing. This includes evaluating prototypes and conducting studies with children to understand their use of, and ability to play with, the product. The Quality Team works with the Product Development Team early in the design process using predictive analytics to identify and solve potential issues.

 

Phase 3‣ Product Qualification

Before production begins, a series of pilots are conducted, during which products are tested at various stages of completeness. At each stage, samples are drawn and tested against safety and quality requirements and, when necessary, adjustments are made to the product design and/or manufacturing process.

 

Phase 4‣ Production

Each Mattel manufacturing facility frequently tests products that it produces. This testing ensures that products continue to meet the high standards established during the design and development process and verified during product qualification. In addition to the audits performed at the source of production, the Quality Team also randomly samples products from distribution centers and retailers, and provides test data to quality engineers and manufacturing sites for continuous improvement.

 

Phase 5‣ After-Sales Support

Once our products have been purchased by consumers, the Quality Team has an ongoing role in supporting customer satisfaction. Mattel Global Consumer Support (Consumer Services), an extension of our Quality Team, is responsible for post-market surveillance and provides feedback from consumers to our internal teams, including feedback regarding product safety, quality, reliability, and durability.

Beyond Compliance
Our internal product safety procedures are designed to meet or exceed regulations and laws enforced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and its regulatory counterparts around the world where our toys are sold. In the United States, various state governments also require children’s product companies to report the use of certain chemicals. We file reports when necessary to fulfill these state laws, and we don’t stop there. We’ve chosen to phase out the chemicals that we’re required to report.

 

Accessible vs. Inaccessible
Accessible parts are those a child can touch when a product is assembled. Since protecting a child is of the utmost importance to us, we hold these parts to a higher standard with stricter requirements. We put our toys through a series of durability and reliability tests to make sure the inaccessible parts will stay inaccessible during play.

 

Selecting Materials
Material selection is the first step in ensuring product safety and quality. Our Product Safety and Quality team conducts a comprehensive chemical safety assessment and reviews Bills of Substances for all new materials to be confident that our materials do not contain any restricted substances or violate chemical regulations in the countries in which our toys are sold. Mattel has placed more than 3,000 substances on our restricted substances list. 

The Medical and Scientific Safety Council 

Mattel has established a Medical and Scientific Safety Council (MSSC) comprised of leading pediatricians with experience in early childhood development, pediatric disaster response, pediatric health policy, behavioral pediatrics, adolescent medicine, pediatric clinical education, and parent education.

 

The role of the MSSC is to provide professional opinions, advice, and recommendations related to product safety, as well as the safe and proper use of products. The MSSC also provides insights into parents’ challenges, the latest trends in child health and development, and advises on actions parents and caregivers can take to ensure productive and safe play. Click here for additional information regarding the MSSC and its members.

Things You'll Want to Know


We don’t like BPA, either. 
Because polycarbonate contains BPA, we set a standard that polycarbonate cannot be used in any product that is intended to be mouthed or touch food.
 

We don’t add flame retardants except when required by law. 
We do not add chemical flame retardants to our products except in certain limited circumstances. For example, some electronic components and some products destined for specific markets (outside of North America) have flame retardants added in order to meet regulatory requirements. There are more than two dozen flame retardants that we have committed not to use in any of our products.

We clearly label products that contain exposed latex. 
We clearly label the packages of select Fisher-Price products that contain exposed latex, in case latex allergies are an issue for consumers or their babies. (We don’t label packages for products that have enclosed latex parts, such as that found in elastic cords, since enclosed latex has not been shown to cause allergic reactions.)

We take lead seriously. 
We are fully compliant with all applicable standards in the countries in which our toys are sold related to lead. We use world-class equipment to test for it in the raw materials coming into our manufacturing process and again in our final products prior to shipping.  

We meet or go beyond REACH requirements. 
We regularly sample our materials and test for the presence of polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to ensure we fulfill the ban placed on certain PAHs by the REACH regulation in Europe. But while REACH allows manufacturers to use substances of very high concern (SVHC), we don’t use them. We monitor the list of SVHCs and reviews all material ingredients to ensure that no articles in our products contains more than 0.1% of any SVHC.

 

 

Learn more about the processes Mattel has created to live out our commitment to product safety:

Material Selection

Designing, Manufacturing and Testing for Safety

Medical and Scientific Safety Council

Proactively Addressing Safety Concerns 

Mattel provides consumers with comprehensive information, instructions, and safety warnings to help keep children safe when using our products. We actively monitor how our products stand up to real-life use and play. Before a product is marketed, we conduct observational research of children and parents interacting with products, packaging, instructions, and safety warnings in our Play Labs. This information helps the Product Development Team make any pre-launch product or packaging changes to enhance the overall consumer experience.

 

Once a product is in the market, the Quality Team conducts post-market surveillance, analyzes consumer response, and provides additional information to our designers and development engineers to improve the safety, quality, reliability, and durability of future products. We evaluate and review consumer comments and complaints, individually and in aggregate, while analyzing trends, tracking comments on social media, and setting goals for improvement.

 

Our review process also includes monitoring customer comments, regulatory developments and guidelines, and other feedback to identify potential safety issues. Mattel notifies regulatory authorities of safety incidents and other reportable information and coordinates actions, including issuing safety warnings and conducting product recalls, when appropriate.

 

Mindful of Materials

All materials used in the development of Mattel’s products are tested for human and environmental health and safety, and must meet applicable regulatory standards and requirements. Many of our internal standards go beyond mandated regulations to ensure the materials in our products are safe.

 

During a product’s development, we conduct a comprehensive chemical safety assessment and review the chemical substances for all new materials, gathering detailed information about their composition and comparing that to our Chemicals Management Database of more than 3,000 restricted substances.

 

The database reflects chemical regulations worldwide, and we are actively phasing out the use of substances determined to be chemicals of concern as identified by applicable laws and regulations.

 

Consumer Services

Consumer Services provides customer support and services on a range of topics, including customer questions, technical assistance with proper product use, broken or missing parts replacement, product instruction sheets, direct-to-consumer sales support, product registration and warranties, safety notifications, and product recalls. The team responds to consumer inquiries online, through email, and using a toll-free number in all countries where our products are sold. We aim to anticipate, meet, or exceed our consumers’ expectations for product quality, safety, and service.

 

Rigorous Safety Standards in Material Selection

  • We do not use polycarbonate (which may contain traces of bisphenol A) in any product intended to be mouthed or to touch food.
  • We do not add chemicals to our products as flame retardants, except when required by law, and we carefully restrict which flame retardants we use when they are required.
  • We clearly label products that contain latex, such as Fisher-Price teethers, in case of allergies.
  • We test for lead and other heavy metals in our raw materials before using them in products.
  • We sample materials used in our products to ensure they do not contain polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), formaldehyde, or other substances of concern, as required by regulations worldwide, such as EU regulations like Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).

Learn more about the processes Mattel has created to live out our commitment to product safety:

Material Selection

Designing, Manufacturing and Testing for Safety

Medical and Scientific Safety Council