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Consumers (25-11-2010)

Safe toys for the holiday season: tips for EU consumers

With many EU consumers now beginning to shop for holiday presents, the European Commission has published practical guidance to help them buy only safe toys for their children and use them safely .

The tips have been developed jointly with the Commission's key partners: Member States, consumer organisations, industry representatives and retailers' federations.

Summary of the tips:

  1. Always buy toys from trustworthy shops and online outlets.
  2. Read all warnings and instructions.
  3. Choose toys suitable for the child’s age, abilities and skill level.
  4. Do not buy toys with small detachable parts for children under 3 years of age .
  5. Follow carefully the instructions for proper toy assembly and use.
  6. Keep an eye on children as they play.
  7. Check toys from time to time.
  8. Remove all packaging.
  9. Teach your children to put away their toys to avoid accidents.
  10. Always report a safety problem with a toy to the manufacturer or the retailer where you bought it.

Download the full brochure: pdf


The European Commission has been working closely with national safety authorities to make sure that the toys sold on the EU-wide Single Market are safe.

Thanks to RAPEX, the rapid alert system for dangerous products, unsafe toys detected anywhere on the Single Market can be quickly removed from shelves in all other EU countries.

The Commission is also talking to leading exporter countries to step up safety and co-operating with customs authorities, so that more unsafe products are stopped at EU borders.

Yet, no policy measures will ever create a zero-risk environment or fully replace consumer awareness and sound parental supervision. This is where practical guidance for consumers can help.

The toy safety tips have been disseminated to consumer organisations, retailers and other partners. As an example, a large supermarket chain in France has reproduced them in their Christmas catalogue.

Find out more:
If you are interested in finding out more about EU product safety policy, visit