Q&As about Toy Safety
Where toys are manufactured is not important. The same rules apply to all toys placed on the EU market, regardless of where they are manufactured. If the toy is manufactured outside the EU, the importer together with the manufacturer must ensure it meets all safety requirements. All good quality toys from reputable toymakers that are sold in Europe today are safe, regardless of where they are made. However, when there is no importer who takes responsibility for the toy in the EU, such as when online platforms sell toys from non-EU 3rd party sellers, we do see that there are bad actors who sell unsafe toys into Europe.
Toys have multiple ingredients. Some toys include certain substances because of their safety characteristics – for example, flame retardants or substances that prevent a toy from shattering into dangerous, sharp pieces. Toys sold in the EU are not allowed to contain substances that are dangerous and to which children might be exposed. Just because a toy contains a certain substance does not mean that a child will be exposed to that substance. As long as there is no exposure, there is no risk.
Responsible toy manufacturers do not use any materials that do not meet the strict EU safety requirements.
A toy that smells is not unsafe. Toys sold in the EU are not allowed to contain substances that are dangerous and to which children might be exposed. Toy manufacturers make sure any fragrances are used safely. We use the same fragrances that are used in foodstuffs such as ice cream and yoghurts. Fragrances are only used in a select few toys such as play cosmetics or, on occasion, plastic in a doll. Fragrances are used to enhance children’s play experience and to meet consumer demand in many cases.
The answer is straightforward. There are too many rogue traders ignoring current safety regulations. None are reputable manufacturers and non are members of TIE. They do not care about today’s safety rules and they will not care about tomorrow’s safety rules. TIE is pleased that those toys get reported to safety gate – it’s a sign of good market surveillance in action. On top of living up to tougher rules than other products, toys are also subject to more frequent controls by authorities. Rightly so given they are intended for children to play with. But we would like policymakers and consumers to know that these do not represent the toys being sold in the EU as a whole. Reputable manufacturers always put safety first.
All safe toys will have a CE marking but, due to unreputable manufacturers, not all CE marked toys will be safe. Rogue traders flouting the EU safety rules will put fake ‘declarations of conformity’ on their toys. The CE marking is intended for market surveillance authorities. It is a declaration by the manufacturer that it complies with the relevant European legislation and that all safety standards and procedures have been respected. The company placing a toy on the market is held accountable and can face legal action/prosecution if the CE marking is incorrectly applied. The credibility of the CE marking can only be guaranteed by strong market surveillance.
Everything in this world is chemical, for example H2O, the formula for water, is composed of hydrogen and oxygen. People cannot live without chemicals. Some chemicals naturally occur in the environment or in raw materials and others are used when manufacturing products because of the safety properties they impart. For example, the use of certain substances ensures that your child’s bicycle helmet is shatter resistant and offer sufficient protection if he/she falls off the bike. A world without chemicals is not possible.