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A Guide to the Toy Safety Directive: clamping down on rogue manufactureres.

A Guide to the Toy Safety Directive: clamping down on rogue manufactureres.

On 30 June 2009 the new Toy Safety Directive, Directive 2009/48/EC was published. It substantially amends the old Directive across virtually all safety aspects. It fulfils to the highest level the newest health and safety standards. It is aimed at simplying the current legislative framework and increasing quality and efficiency. It deals with warnings, 19 products not considered toys, chemical requirements and new tests aimed at claimping down on rogue Far Eastern Manufacturers.

 

 

The main issue for manufactures will be knowing what the raw materials they have used in components and materials contain.  For example, much plastic is now traded so it is impossible to work out what samples contain. Testing costs have increased, probably in an attempt to clamp down on rouge Far Eastern manufacturers where the main issue is sourcing raw materials and being able to trace those materials through the supply chain.

In all probability the most committed offence will be not having a full technical file as the requirement to produce one within 30 days will be difficult to comply with on a retrospective basis.

The Directive

Article 1 Subject Matter.

This defines the subject matter of the Directive. The subject matter is twofold. The Directive lays down rules on the safety of toys, on the one hand, and on their free movement in the Community, on the other hand. The subject matter stems from the two main objectives of the Directive which are, first, to ensure that toys used by children are safe and, secondly, to guarantee the smooth functioning of the internal market for toys

Article 2 Scope

Article 2 (1) defines the scope of the Directive, that is the products to which it applies. The definition in article 2 (1), first subparagraph, provides the following criteria for deciding whether a product falls under the scope of the Directive:

 'Any product or material designed or intended whether or not exculsively for use in play by children under 14 years of age.'

The wording of this provision is slightly different than the definition in the 88/378/EEC Directive.  However,  the  intention  has  only  been  to  codify  the  practise  under  that Directive, and not to change the material scope of the Directive from what it has been up till now. The words "whether or not exclusively" have been added to the definition to indicate that the product does not have to be exclusively intended for playing purposes in order for it to be considered as a toy, but it can have other functions as well. For example, a key-ring with a teddy bear attached to it is considered as a toy, or a sleeping bag in the shape of a soft filled toy.

The wording of this provision is slightly different than the definition in the 88/378/EEC Directive.  However,  the  intention  has  only  been  to  codify  the  practise  under  that Directive, and not to change the material scope of the Directive from what it has been up till now. The words "whether or not exclusively" have been added to the definition to indicate that the product does not have to be exclusively intended for playing purposes in order for it to be considered as a toy, but it can have other functions as well. For example, a key-ring with a teddy bear attached to it is considered as a toy, or a sleeping bag in the shape of a soft filled toy

There are a number of exclusions - The Directive does not apply to

  • playground equipment intented for public use
  • automatic playing machines, whether coin operated or not, intended for public use
  • toy vehilces equipped with combustion engines
  • toy steam engines and 
  • slings and catapults.

Definitions.

There are a number of important definitions contained in Article 3.

  • making available on the market" means any supply of a toy for distribution, consumption or use on the Community market in the course of a commercial activity, whether in return for payment or free of charge;
  • "placing on the market" means the first making available of a toy on the Community market;
  • important definitions of Manufacturer, Importer, Distributor and Economic Operator.
  • CE marking means a marking by which the manufacturer indicated that the toy is in conformity with the applicatble requirements set out in Community harmonisation legislation.
  • Defninitions of 'functional product',  'functional toy' ]activity toy' 'chemical toy'
  • harm" means physical injury or any other damage to health, including long- term health effects;
  • "hazard" means a potential source of harm;
  • "risk" means the probable rate of occurrence of a hazard causing harm and the degree of severity of the harm
  • 'Intended for use by' means that a parent or supervisor shall reasonably be able to assume by virtue of the functions, dimensions and characteristics of a toy that it is intended for use by children of the stated age group. [ eg 'children under 36 months'

Various Obligations.

Manufacturers have to ensure that the articles have been designed and manufactured in accordance with the requirements set out in Article 10 and Anne II.They also have to draw up required technical documentation and keep it for inspection for 10 years.Further obligations include placing identification of name, registered trade name etc on the article.

Importers have lesser obligations, which inclued ensuring that the manufacturer has drawn up the technical documentation and has the necessary conformity markings.They must also ensure that the toy is accomanied by instructions and safety information in a language that is easily understood by consumers. Distributors again have lesser obligations in respect of marking, reporting etc.

Conformity

Article 10 Essential Safety Requirements sets out the main requirement: 

'Member States shall take all measures necessary to ensure that toys may not be placed on the market unless they comply with the essential safety requirements set out, as far as the general safety requirement is concerned, in paragraph 2, and, as far as the particular safety requirements are concerned, in Annex II.'

Article 10 Essential Safety Requirements sets out the main requirement: 

'Member States shall take all measures necessary to ensure that toys may not be placed on the market unless they comply with the essential safety requirements set out, as far as the general safety requirement is concerned, in paragraph 2, and, as far as the particular safety requirements are concerned, in Annex II.'

Detailed regulations set out restrictions in respect of substances that are  classified  as  carcinogenic,  mutagenic  or  toxic  for reproduction (CMR) of category 1A, 1B or 2 under Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008  that shall not be used in toys, in components of toys or in micro-structurally distinct parts of toys. There are also regulations re cosmetics, that shall not contain alergic fragrances, migration limits in respect of licking, sucking, swallowing or coming into prolonged contact with skin. There are also regulations governing electrical properties, hygene and cleanliness, radioactivity,

 Detailed guidance can be obtained on the Europa website at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/toys/documents/directives/ that also includes a number of factsheets on a number of subjects including traceability, the scope of the Directive and warnings.

For any advice and assistance for issues like these please do call Jeremy on 0844 2722322 or submit a comment below. Jeremy will come back to you at the earliest convenience.

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