Toy Retailers Association

Toy Safety Regulations

The Association informs members through its Newsletter of changes to existing legislation governing toy safety as well as informing them of new legislation.

This information is also circulated to the Media and is available through the News Desk on this site.

Technical details will shortly be available in more advanced form via e-mail alerts and in the members’ area

Background to toy safety regulations in the UK

The EEC toy safety directive was adopted by the British Government in July 1989 and the Toys (Safety) Regulations came into force on 1st January 1990. The directive ensures the free circulation of toys throughout the EU and all toys are required to bear a CE Mark, together with the name and address of the first supplier in the Community. A new toy safety directive (2009/48/EC) will come into effect in the EU on 20th July 2011 which contains new requirements for toy manufacturers and importers including those related to the technical information available for inspection by the authorities which manufacturers must prepare and retain.

The Regulations require toys to be designed and made so that they comply with safety requirements. The requirements include aspects such as mechanical safety, flammability, exclusion of toxic materials, hygiene etc. There are standards which guide the toy manufacturer. In most cases, if a toy complies with those standards, it will comply with the Regulations.

Toy companies are required to know about the safety of their products and keep records which describe the steps they take to ensure that the toys comply.

Toy retailers are required to ensure that the toys on sale are labelled in accordance with the Regulations. Whilst there is no specific requirement for retailers to check independently that toys comply with the specific safety requirements, some retailers do this by getting assurances from their suppliers that the information required is available. Often retailers request independent certificates to show that the products they are buying are safe although there is no legal requirement to do so.

If a retailer imports a toy product directly or markets a toy under his own brand, then he is responsible for the safety of the product and maintaining the technical data.

Toys have a very good safety track record and this is supported by a look at the UK accident statistics. Only a small percentage of all home accidents involve toys, and even in these rare instances the toy is usually not the cause of the accident.