For Sanjay Sadana and the other researchers at the SGS toy testing laboratory in Gurgaon, the throat of a three-year-old child may be the most dangerous thing in the world. It’s a receptacle for everything hazardous, and so central to their work that they have a metal, mechanical cylinder that simulates it.
Click here for a glimpse of SGS toy testing laboratory
SGS SA is a Geneva-headquartered company that provides testing and certification services for a number of consumer and industrial products. The SGS Gurgaon lab tests toys from around the world on a number of parameters, from chemical constitution and flammability to their suitability for younger age groups. Understandably, it’s the “0-3 years” category that presents the most problems. “We have to take into account a young child’s tendency to throw, to chew, to swallow everything it gets in its hand,” Sadana says.
On a table in the centre of the lab, the toys awaiting testing include a blue striped dinosaur, a “Happy Phone” toy mobile phone, a large rubber Zebra, a plastic “Police Patrol Boat” (“Pull back and Go!”) and a box of jigsaw puzzles. In the next half-hour, as Sadana takes us through the different stages of testing, these toys will be burnt, scraped, pulled, torn apart, dissected and put through a machine. “There are many dangerous toys wrongly labelled for children,” he says, holding up a shiny yellow model car. “We have to make sure these labels are questioned.”
Here’s how they do it.