What is a toy?
A toy means any product or material designed or clearly intended for use in play by children of less than 14 years of age. But, there is a list of products not regarded as toys for the purpose of this directive.
The Safety of Toys Directive 88/378/EEC came into force on 1st January 1990. Since then, all toys placed on the European market must bear the CE Marking.
The Directive covers: scope and definitions, placing products on the market and putting them into service, free movement of CE-marked goods in member states, reference to harmonized standards, vigilance and incident reporting, conformity assessment procedures, safety, authorized representative, consequences of wrongly affixed CE Marking etc.
The Directive also sets out the mandatory "essential safety requirements" for toys relating to: the design, the construction or the composition, special hazards such as the physical and mechanical properties, flammability, chemical properties, electrical properties, hygiene and radioactivity, etc.
The CE Marking is the manufacturer's declaration that his toys meet the essential requirements of the European Safety of Toys Directive (STD) 88/378/eec, and that such toys are therefore entitled to free movement throughout the 28 European Union & EFTA member states. The CE Marking has often been described as the "products' trade passport to Europe".
Toy Safety Regulations and Standard
Toy Safety Regulations are:
- General Product Safety Regulations
- Toys (Safety) Regulations
- Pencil and Graphics Instruments (Safety) Regulations
Toy Safety Standards cover mainly:
- Mechanical & Physical Hazards
- Toxicity-Migration of Certain Elements
- Experimental Sets for Chemistry
- Chemical Toys
- Graphical Symbol for Age Warning
- Electrical properties
Electrical and Battery Powered Toys, Chemical Toys, Acoustics and Toys
Electrical and Battery Operated Toys
1. Electrical and Battery Operated Toys covers the whole range of electrical toys from small button cells, operating lights and sound to large sit and ride on vehicles, powered by sealed lead acid cells.
2. Toys must not be powered by electricity exceeding certain Volts.
3. For toys operated by batteries, the problems occur when the wrong batteries are used, when old and new batteries are mixed or when batteries are wrongly inserted.
4. When the customers want to use rechargeable batteries. Certain advice may need to be given depends on how many batteries are required to power the product.
5. WEEE registration and compliance (after 13 August 2005)
6. RoHS compliance (after 1 July 2006)
These have to carry clear warnings and what are the age limitations.
Acoustics & Toys
Toys that produce noise will have limits on what are described as "peak emission sound pressure levels", i.e., the loudest noise that a toy can make. Warning is needed if the noise is over certain level.
Proper Labeling for Toys, Age Labeling & Age Warnings
By using proper labeling, Age Labeling and Age Warnings, you can prevent a customer from buying an unsuitable toy for a young child, thus you may well be preventing that child from injuring himself or herself, or you may also make sure that an inappropriate toy doesn't become an unsafe toy in the wrong hands.
CE-marked toys must meet special requirements for labeling including age labeling and warnings for children of various ages, and in particular, warnings for toys that are deemed to be unsuitable for children under 36 months. EU standards give also alternative symbol for such warnings in the place of text.
DoC- Declaration of Conformity
In many cases, the manufacturer can self-declare that their products meet the legal requirements contained in the TSD Directive by preparing a document called "Declaration of Conformity" plus a set of "Technical Files", which support their self-claim.
Technical Files & European Authorized Representative
If a manufacturer is from outside the 28 EU+EFTA member states, the manufacturer needs to appoint a European Authorized Representative within the EU+EFTA member states to keep the "Declaration of Conformity" and "Technical Files" for inspections by any EU surveillance authorities.
The name and address of the European Authorized Representative must be printed on the package of toys along with the CE marking.
List of products not regarded as toys for the purpose of the TSD directive.
1. Christmas decorations
2. Detailed scale models for adult collectors
1. Equipment intended to be used collectively in playgrounds
2. Sports equipment
3. Aquatic equipment intended to be used in deep water
4. Folk dolls and decorative dolls and other similar articles for adult collectors
5. 'Professional' toys installed in public places (shopping centers, stations, etc.)
6. Puzzles with more than 500 pieces or without picture, intended for specialists
7. Air guns and air pistols
8. Fireworks, including percussion caps (*)
9. Slings and catapults
10. Sets of darts with metallic points
11. Electric ovens, irons or other functional products operated at a nominal voltage exceeding 24 volts
12. Products containing heating elements intended for use under the supervision of an adult in a teaching context
13. Vehicles with combustion engines
14. Toy steam engines
15. Bicycles designed for sport or for travel on the public highway (**)
16. Video toys that can be connected to a video screen, operated at a nominal voltage exceeding 24 volts
17. Babies' dummies
18. Faithful reproductions of real fire arms Fashion jewellery for children