The most important issue for TIE is that children are safe when they play with their toys. Not only this, but our industry and our members’ credibility and reputation depend on this commitment, which is why toy safety is our number one priority.
We are a highly dynamic industry and we take our responsibility very seriously. The EU Toy Safety Directive sets some of the most rigorous and demanding safety rules in the world. The Directive, along with technical standards drawn up by EU standardisation bodies (CEN and CENELEC), guide both us and our members in all our activities. TIE and its national association members have been educating toy sector players for several years about these rules, in Europe and beyond (link).
Toy safety is constantly evolving; modern toys are amongst the safest and most regulated consumer products on the market. We contribute our expertise in toy safety to make sure that rules and standards for toy safety remain relevant, up to date and workable. We believe that sound scientific evidence must be used as the basis for any changes.
What makes Toys Safe?
Our primary objective is to ensure that toys, in the hands of children, do not cause harm or pose an undue risk. So what makes a good, safe toy? We believe that if a toy can withstand rigorous safety testing and meet the highest international standards, then it is reasonable to describe it as a safe toy. In addition, continuous monitoring within the industry keeps these standards abreast of technological developments and user needs.
The reputable toy manufacturers that make up our membership fully support and subscribe to these standards. Our members work closely with authorities to ensure all toys on the market comply with the rules. However, enforcement by authorities is also a key part of ensuring safety, protecting children from the risk of non-compliant or counterfeit products.
Education on toy safety is also important. Children are blessed with wonderful and inventive imaginations, meaning that even the most diligent manufacturers cannot anticipate every way a toy might be used. This is why the industry works with other stakeholders to provide advice for parent on better toy safety, adding a further layer of protection.
Rules and Regulations
The first European toy safety regulation was defined more than 25 years ago. The toy industry was involved in working with the authorities from the outset and remains fully engaged today. All toys sold in the European Union, regardless of where they are manufactured, must comply with EU toy safety legislation and standards.
In 2011, the latest Toy Safety Directive came into force. The Directive defines the essential requirements that toys must meet before being placed on the market. This includes considerations such as toy’s physical and mechanical properties, their potential for flammability, their electrical properties and the chemicals used in manufacture and construction. Harmonised standards developed by EU standardisation bodies then detail the technological specifications needed to ensure that risks are avoided.
TIE fully supports the Toy Safety Directive. During its development, it offered its expertise to the European Commission helping draft guidance documents on a number of complex subjects within the Directive. This includes, for example guidance on toys for children under 36 months, and toys that can be put in the mouth. TIE participates in the Toy Safety Expert Group, in which the European Commission’s DG GROWTH, national experts and consumer and industry representatives draft guidance documents that explain the Toy Safety Directive.
TIE believes that the Toy Safety Directive, and the accompanying standards, are vital in providing European consumers with the confidence that the toys they buy from legitimate and reputable channels meet the highest safety standards.