Safety is fundamental to the development and manufacture of toys, regardless of whether they are created by a research and development team at a manufacturing company, by a firm specialising in developing new products or by an individual inventor on his or her kitchen table.
At the earliest stages, many designers utilise information from sources including parents, psychologists, educators and other child development specialists. This background provides valuable clues as to what consumers are looking for when they purchase toys, how children learn through play and when youngsters are physically and cognitively ready for certain types of toys. Children themselves also frequently test toys in focus or theme groups to determine durability, age-appropriateness, play patterns and marketability. Some toy manufacturers maintain in-house, year-round nursery school facilities for this purpose, while others establish relationships with universities and other research facilities. A detailed evaluation of a product's safety is made upon completion of the very first prototype and updated as the toy nears production.