Ensuring toy safety for consumers
Originally, Directive 88/378/EEC on the Safety of Toys, which harmonises the safety provisions on toys between Member States, was adopted in the context of the achievement of the internal market. The aim of this harmonisation measure was also to guarantee an equal high level safety of toys in the whole Community. On 30 June 2009 the new Toy Safety Directive (2009/48/EC) was published, giving consumers assurance that toys sold in the EU fulfil the highest safety requirements world-wide, especially those relating to the use of chemical substances.
The European Toy Safety Campaign is launched
What should you look for as a parent, to know if a toy is safe or not for your child?
The Directives only set the essential safety requirements that toys placed on the market in the Community have to fulfil. Technical details are left to be fixed by standardisation organisations, which mean that toys that comply with the harmonised standards are presumed to be in conformity with the essential safety requirements of the Directive.
Mandatory essential requirements
The Directive lays down the safety criteria or "essential requirements" which toys must meet during manufacture and before being placed on the market. The safety criteria cover general risks (protection against health hazards or physical injury) and particular risks (physical and mechanical, flammability, chemical properties, electrical properties, hygiene, radioactivity).
They must in all cases comply with the relevant Union legislation.
CE marking and free circulation
All toys marketed in the EU must carry a CE conformity marking, which is the manufacturer's declaration that the toy satisfies all essential safety requirements.
Toys that are CE marked enjoy free circulation in the European Economic Area (EEA).
Manufacturers can chose between two modules for conformity assessment:
- Self-verification - the manufacturer applies the harmonised standards and describes the means whereby conformity of production is ensured; the manufacturer draws up a technical documentation and the EC declaration of conformity (2009/48/EC). Then, he affixes the CE marking, his name and address and an identification element (traceability) before placing the toy on the market.
More information can be found on the internal production control procedure in Module A of annex II to Decision No 768/2008/EC.
- Third party verification or certification - the manufacturer submits the model of the toy as well as a technical documentation to the notified body. The notified body issues an EC type examination certificate. The manufacturer has the means to ensure the conformity of his production with the approved model. He draws up a technical documentation and the EC declaration of conformity (2009/48/EC). Then, he affixes the CE marking, his name and address and an identification element (traceability) before placing the toy on the market
More information can be found on the EC type examination procedure and the conformity to type based on internal production control procedure in Module B and C of annex II to Decision No 768/2008/EC.
Member States shall make sample checks on the market, they shall have access to the place of manufacture and storage, and they may ask the manufacturer for documentation concerning the design and the manufacture. Member states shall also control the conformity at the external borders.