8 wishes for the new toy safety rules from the toy makers who prioritise safety
At Toy Industries of Europe, we are looking forward to the publication of the European Commission’s proposal for a revised Toy Safety Directive. This is said to be imminent. The Toy Safety Directive is one of our main pieces of legislation, our ‘safety bible’. As the text will soon be sent through to the European Parliament and Member States for scrutiny, here are our 8 wishes for the new Toy Safety rules.
Toy Industries of Europe represents reputable toy manufacturers in Europe. These are mostly SMEs who want to be able to continue to produce toys that are fun, safe and affordable for all.
This will only be possible if EU policymakers:
1. Zero in on REAL safety risks that are specific to toys. If the risk is not specific to toys, then it should be dealt with in more general rules such as REACH.
2. Tackle the problem that developed since the current Directive was born: the tsunami of unsafe products that non-EU traders sell on online platforms. The ONLY way to address this meaningfully is to recognise online platforms as economic operators in the text and to give them specific obligations. Neither the Digital Services Act nor the General Product Safety Regulation has provided a solution here.
3. Make the new rules enforceable, otherwise they are pointless. This means ensuring market surveillance can and will work with the new rules and that extra investment goes to the agencies that will help to implement the rules. Otherwise, reputable toymakers will be burdened with rules while rogue traders will continue to ignore them and continue, unburdened, quicker and cheaper to put their dangerous toys on the market. Consumers could opt for cheaper and unknowingly buy dangerous toys.
4. Realise that toys are already much safer than many other products that children are more regularly in touch with in their daily lives. In terms of sustainability, toys meet the same standards of other everyday products that children use. There is no need to impose extra sustainability rules for toys alone in the guise of making them safer.
5. Recognise that toymakers rely on suppliers for whom they are ‘small fish’. If toy materials need to meet much stricter sustainability criteria than other everyday products that children encounter, we will struggle to find suppliers ready to provide us with such specific, niche, goods at a reasonable price.
6. Change the Directive into a Regulation so there is less chance of any variations between the Member States’ versions: more consistency = better enforcement.
7. Strengthen and expand the comitology mechanism so that it is easy to adapt the legislation to new developments rather than having to revise the full text.
8. Base the new text on a solid risk and impact assessment, bearing in mind the proportionality principle, as all ‘better’ legislation should.