Generally, a toy tester is someone who is hired to play with prototypes or new products in order to help gauge the extent to which certain toys might be profitable. In addition to looking for characteristics such as being fun and visually appealing, a toy tester might also test a product for safety. One option is for a toy manufacturer to hire a toy-testing firm, many of which provide additional services, such as certifying toys as safe according to certain international standards, depending on where a particular toy will be sold. In many cases, an individual toy tester, such as a parent, might not be paid to test toys at home, but might be permitted to keep the toys or to be paid for publishing a written review. The kinds of toys tested can range from children's toys to pet toys and even adult products.
Before spending the resources to produce a large quantity of a new toy, companies usually like to get feedback from potential customers. If they plan to sell their products in certain countries, they might be required to have their toys certified and to verify that they comply with international safety standards or import regulations. Producing and marketing toys can be expensive, so testing can save money by soliciting customer feedback and ensuring a product's safety before it is distributed.
A toy tester evaluates toys according to certain criteria determined by the manufacturer. Usually, both kid and adult testers have their findings recorded, either by giving verbal feedback while playing with the toy or by submitting a review later. Children may be brought into a laboratory as members of focus groups, in which professionals observe them playing with the toys and record their reactions. Someone can also work from home as a toy tester; parents, for example, can evaluate children's toys by having them play with the toys and then observing and recording the outcomes.
In most cases, there are no specific qualifications necessary for someone to become a professional toy tester. It is usually beneficial, however, for that person to have some business or marketing expertise, in addition to a familiarity with the products. Some specialized knowledge or experience might be required of someone who wants a job inspecting toys for safety. Toy manufacturer websites are one option for finding toy tester jobs. In addition to hiring professional testers, they often have information available for parents and other people looking for unpaid toy tester opportunities.