How to make sure that your items are safe and comply with regulations on toy making
Do you make and sell toys? If you are listing items that are intentionally aimed at children under 14 years old or items that could be classed as toys, you need to comply with the EU Toy Safety Directive legislation. This might sound daunting, but it’s not that scary (we promise!) and there are lots of resources out there to help you through the process of testing and CE marking your products.
In this post we’re going to look at CE marking for handmade toys – how to ensure your items are safe and that they comply with toy-making regulations.
CE Marking for handmade toys & other handmade items
The Toy Safety Directive legislation was introduced in 2009 as a Europe-wide set of standards, which any makers selling or suppliers importing into the European marketplace must comply with. In order to prove and ensure compliance to these standards, all toys (including those which are handmade) must be CE marked. As a small business you must do all you can to be sure that your toy is safe and complies to the Toy Safety Directive.
A “toy” is defined as any product or material that is designed or clearly intended for use in play by children up to the age of 14 years old. If your product looks like a toy, could be mistaken for a toy or has “play value”, then it needs to be CE marked.
You can CE mark your own products
The good news is that you can carry out all necessary testing and CE mark your own products through self-certification. This involves putting your product through various physical tests as well as ensuring that the materials and components you use are compliant. You then have to document all your testing in a document known as a ‘Technical File’ (keep this document safe in case you need to prove compliance) and make sure that all of your products have the CE mark on them in the form of a label or swing tag. There are no legislative hoops to jump through and the process is relatively straight-forward, however it does take some time to work through carefully.
A good place to start is with CE marking specialists Conformance who detail all the information you will need on their website. They also offer a range of self-certification packs and editable versions of the required paperwork to help you fulfil your responsibilities and meet all the legal requirements for toys.
The CE Marking process simplified
So that you can get an idea of what is involved in CE marking your products, here’s the process in its simplest form:
- Ask the question: Does it need a CE mark? Is the intention for it to be played with? Does it look like a toy? Could it be mistaken for a toy?
- If you’re already selling the item, remove it from sale while you carry out the necessary tests.
- Create a prototype of your item for testing.
- Carry out physical tests (including stress, tension, soaking and flammability tests) and take photographs/videos as evidence. These have to be carried out in a particular order and in specific conditions so make sure you refer to the legislation standards EN71-1 and EN71-2.
- Source evidence that your materials and components are compliant with EN71-3 standards. Some manufacturers are able to provide material test reports or you may have to pay for these. The CE Marking Handmade Toys Collective have test results you can purchase for materials relating to making soft toys.
- Complete your Technical File, including all testing evidence, and keep up to date as needed.
- Complete a Declaration of Conformity, a standard one-page document.
- Make toys and add CE labels to any toys you make. When making toys for sale you must use the same material as tested and make in the same method as with the prototype tested. You will need to re-test the toy if you change any element of your design or manufacturing process, or use different materials.
- Track and document your manufactured toys so that you have traceability.
Not sure whether your products are classed as toys?
If you’re not sure whether your products are classed as toys or if they need to comply, contact your local Trading Standards office for advice.
Remember that regulations may change!
The information we’re providing is correct as far as we know at the time of writing but it’s your responsibility as a maker to keep up to date and compliant with the current regulations.
Featured item: Paul the Toadstool doll by Ohhh What a Yarn