Guidance on toys for children under 3 years old

If you can prevent a customer buying an unsuitable toy for a young child, you may well be preventing that child injuring himself or herself.

You will also be demonstrating to your customer the principles behind the Approved Lion Mark Retailer scheme – safety is ensured not only by offering safe toys for sale, but also by making sure that an inappropriate toy doesn’t become an unsafe toy in the wrong hands.

Age labelling

Check age guidance instructions on the package. Age labelling is the manufacturer’s guide to the consumer about the suitability of the product for a particular age group.

Often, parents (and sometimes proud grandparents) overestimate the ability of young children to cope with toys which were not made for their age group. No manufacturer wants to limit his sales and it is safe to assume that a toy marked ‘age 4-6’ is suitable for those ages.

This pictogram began appearing on toys during 1995. It warns that the toy is unsuitable for children under 3 years. The pictogram is designed to avoid the need to use many languages on the packaging and it should always be accompanied by a specific reason for the warning (e.g. – small parts etc)

When a manufacturer warns ‘not suitable for children under (age)’, and/or the pictogram is displayed, this is not an age recommendation, but a warning, and where possible, this should be pointed out to customers at the point of sale.

A simple question to the customer: “Are you aware that this product states that it is unsuitable for children under 3? Do you know why they have made this warning?” If they do, fine. If not, you should explain briefly.