Effective Market Surveillance Keeps Unsafe Toys out of Children’s Hands

The 2017 Rapid Alert System results are an important reminder of how effective market surveillance helps to make sure toys in the EU are safe for children to play with.

Reputable companies take great care to build safety into their toys. They invest time and resources into making sure that their toys comply with the strict rules and standards in the EU and that they can withstand rigourous testing. They also have sound procedures in place to respond in the rare cases that any safety issues do arise.

However, some traders choose not to play by the rules and ignore EU safety legislation. Strong and effective market surveillance and enforcement throughout Europe keep those toys that don’t meet the EU’s high-standards out of children’s hands. The Rapid Alert System (formely RAPEX) is an important cross-border mechanism within the market surveillance toolkit.

As often the case, toys are the most notified product category on the Rapid Alert System (29% of all notifications). We see this as a good sign – it is the result of more frequent and effective scrutiny and controls and means that market surveillance authorities are paying special attention to make sure that non-compliant toys are kept off the market.  97% of  the notifications relate to companies outside TIE’s membership.

The high-number of notifications for toys should be seen as an illustration of the extra level of protection given to toys. It does not mean that toys are unsafe for children to play with: if all consumer products enjoyed the same level of scrutiny, we would see a comparable number of notifications for other categories.

TIE’s Director General, Catherine Van Reeth, said, “We enjoy extremely high toy safety standards in the EU. Parents can be confident that reputable companies invest time and resources in making sure that their toys are safe for children to play with. However, the rules alone are not enough: they must be coupled with strong and effective market surveillance and enforcement throughout Europe to keep toys that don’t meet our high standards out of children’s hands. The Rapid Alert System is an important piece of this jigsaw.”

She added “The Commission’s recently proposed Goods Package can have a positive impact when it comes to protecting children and the sector against traders who ignore the rules. The key to achieving this will be enhanced coordination between enforcement authorities and a strong focus on rogue players”

By buying toys from trustworthy retailers, keeping an eye out for counterfeits, and reporting any problems, consumers can also help children to enjoy safe play.

The European Commission’s 2017 Rapid Alert Statistics are available here.