What is the Toy Safety Directive?

The Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC is the European legislation regarding the safety of toys; by which “toys” are any product or material designed or intended whether or not exclusively for use in play by children under 14 years of age.

The main requirements for toy safety testing are that toys must:

  • satisfy safety requirements (termed the ‘essential safety requirements’)
  • bear the CE marking;
  • bear the required name and address details;
  • be accompanied by warnings where necessary.

In addition, information must be maintained for inspection by enforcement authorities.

What are the Toy Safety Testing Standards?

The EN 71 series of European harmonised toy safety testing standards produced by CEN has been transposed into the British Toy Standards BS EN 71. These are the ‘relevant national toy standards’ for the purpose of toy safety.

Various parts to BS EN 71 have been published. They deal with mechanical and physical properties, flammability requirements, migration of certain elements (i.e. permitted levels of lead, cadmium, etc.), experimental sets for chemistry and related activities, chemical toys other than experimental sets and a pictogram for age warning labeling.

 Who is affected by the Toy Standards Directive?

Toy Safety Testing Regulations apply to manufacturers, importers, retailers, hirers and other suppliers of new and second-hand toys – that is, anyone supplying toys in the course of any business. Toys distributed free of charge in the course of business are also covered.

 How do I comply with the Toy Standards Directive?

In order comply with the Toy Standards Directive, the primary requirement is that toys meet the essential safety requirements of the Directive. In order to do this, toys must either be manufactured in accordance with harmonised standards, or must be type tested by a notified body in order to demonstrate that they comply with the essential requirements of the Directive.

Additionally, toy safety testing requires that the manufacturer should do the following:

  • Create a declaration of conformity and affix the CE logo to the product
  • Maintain a technical file containing certain information about the toys (for a period of 10 years after the toy has been placed on the market)
  • Ensure procedures are in place for series production to remain in conformity. If appropriate for the toy, manufacturers should also carry out sample toy safety testing and, if necessary, keep a register of complaints of non-conforming toys
  • Ensure the toys bear a type, batch, serial or model number (or if not possible then include the information on the packaging or an accompanying document)
  • Indicate on the toy their name, registered trade name or registered trade mark and the address at which they can be contacted (or if not possible then include the information on the packaging or an accompanying document)
  • Supply appropriate instructions and safety information in an appropriate language
  • Take appropriate corrective actions to deal with toys they have placed on the market that they consider or have reason to believe are not in conformity with the relevant Community harmonisation legislation.

 Why do I need to comply with the Toy Standards Directive?

Failure to comply with the Toy Standards Directive can result in compulsory measures ranging from withdrawal of products from the market and import rejections through to fines and even imprisonment.