Toys contribute to child development and play is an essential part of growing up. However, toys have to be safe for children to play with. Ensuring that toys marketed in the EU do not put children at risk is a priority. EU legislation aims to ensure that toys meet safety requirements that are amongst the strictest in the world, especially in relation to the use of chemicals in toys.
The Directive lays down the safety criteria that toys must meet before they can be marketed in the EU. Toys must also comply with any other EU legislation applicable to them. The essential safety requirements cover:
The Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC replaced the former Directive 88/378/EEC. It adapted the legal framework to technological developments and previously unknown safety issues. The application and enforcement are aligned with the so-called 'New Legislative Framework'.
The new Directive had to be transposed by the EU Member States into their national legislation by 20 January 2011 and has applied since 20 July 2011. The chemical safety requirements have applied since 20 July 2013.
Compared to the former Directive 88/378/EEC, the Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC puts in place stricter requirements for chemicals:
There are two possible conformity assessments allowing toys to be sold in the EU. The manufacturer has to demonstrate the compliance of a toy by:
Notified bodies perform EC-type examination and issue EC-type examination certificates. The EC-type examination is one of the two possible conformity assessment procedures allowing toys to be marketed in the EU. Notified bodies have been designated by EU Member States.
Stakeholders have signed voluntary agreements with the European Commission to improve toy safety: