There are a number of approval marks for products that have been designed to give consumers greater confidence about the safety of toys and in some the origin of their manufacture.
This symbol, the CE Mark, usually together with the name and address of the manufacturer, is required by law to appear on all toys placed on the market in the European Union.
There is a great deal of misunderstanding about what a CE Mark really means. The CE Mark was established to ensure a free market of toys right across the EU and the mark has sometimes been described as the 'passport for product'.
It is the supplier's statement that their toys meet the safety requirements of the European Toy Safety Directive, and that such toys are therefore entitled to free movement throughout the EU. In order to show that products meet that requirement, the first supplier in the EU has to maintain a technical file. The file should contain technical details about the product, its design and construction and a description of the means by which the supplier has ensured that their products comply with the law.
The CE Mark is intended mainly for enforcement authorities (Trading Standards Officers in the UK). It is NOT a claim of quality or safety as generally understood by consumers.
The address (which must also be displayed with the CE Mark) enables the Trading Standards Officer to trace the supplier and demand the technical file if he has a query about the product.
The CE Mark also appears on many other products. This is because there are other EU Directives which require its use. The mark can therefore not be taken to be a declaration that the product is a toy.
The Lion Mark was developed in 1988 by the British Toy & Hobby Association as a symbol of toy safety and quality for the consumer.
The Lion Mark may only be used by BTHA members. BTHA Members include many major international and European companies.
The Toy Retailers Association has taken an equally positive role in toy safety and advice given to the public - after all, choosing the right toy for the right child is an important part of toy safety.
In 1991, the Toy Retailers Association joined with the BTHA in adapting the Lion Mark for use by retailers.
The symbol displayed in shops, in catalogues and in retailer advertising, indicates that the retailer has agreed to the Code of Practice and ensures that management and staff are briefed on toy safety matters such as age.