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Toy Safety Standards in the UK

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 18 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Toy Safety Safety Standards Toys Uk Toy

All toys supplied in the UK must meet a list of essential safety requirements which are set out in the Toy (Safety) Regulations 2011 (previously the Toy Safety Regulations 1995 - updated in 2010 - and now revoked) and to prove that these requirements are met, all toys should also carry a CE Marking.

What is the Purpose of a CE Mark?

The purpose of a CE marking is not actually to certify to you that a toy is safe to buy, it’s predominantly there for the authorities who regulate toy safety in the UK, and it’s designed to show them that the toy is intended to be sold within the European Community and that it conforms to a list of essential safety requirements.

Having said that, if there is no CE Mark then you are better off not buying the toy, because you won’t know whether the toy has been made according to EU toy safety regulations without it.

British Toy Safety Standards – and EN71

There are seven British Standards which apply to toy safety standards, in addition to a separate standard which covers the electrical safety of toys.

Toy regulations in the UK are governed by a Europe-wide toy safety standard EN71 which governs the safety all toys sold in the UK and within the European Union. These toy safety standards have been in place since 1990, and were updated in 1995.

EN71 covers the safety standards for all toys for children up to the age of 14 - products that are not intended as toys but look like toys (e.g those made for decorative purposes) are still included under the directive. It also divides toy suitability into age ranges and warnings for toys that are unsuitable for children under three. The legislation is in six parts and covers aspects of safety that include flammability, toxicity and safety marking.

If any toy is found to be unsafe according to the regulations, then the producer can be found guilty of a criminal offence. The producer can claim that in principle all reasonable steps were taken to ensure the toy’s safety to avoid prosecution, fines or even imprisonment, but the toy gets no such reprieve and will be withdrawn from sale across the EU straight away. All member states are automatically notified that there is an unsafe toy, and the toy is recalled.

What Types of Toy are Excluded from Toy Safety Legislation?

Some types of novelty can be excluded from UK toy laws – and these are:

  • fashion jewellery for children
  • Christmas decorations
  • sports equipment.

Although these exclusions can make the toy safety situation look more complicated, it doesn’t make a great deal of difference because even though they are not classified as toys, they must still comply with all the other UK consumer safety legislation, namely the Consumer Protection Act 1987.There is also an EU wide General Product Safety Directive which provides safety standards for physical and mechanical properties.

  • flammability
  • chemical properties
  • electrical properties
  • hygiene
  • radioactivity.

What Should I do if I think a Toy is Unsafe?

If you have bought a toy for your child which has caused an injury, or if you have reason to believe that it might even be in breach of the toy safety regulations it’s a very serious matter. You should contact your local Trading Standards office straight away so that they can take the toy and carry out tests, and if necessary arrange for the toy to be recalled.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hi, I am making some wool felt bears, that will be filled with stuffing that meets safety standards. I would like to give the bears some weight.. in prototypes I have used dry lentil/beans, and have considered plastic pellets though would rather not use plastic. Would I need a not suitable for children under 3 years on them? many thanks
KF - 18-Apr-18 @ 12:27 PM
Are educational tools classed as a toy? I want to sell drawing stencil sets with coloured pencils, pens etc..I have read elsewhere that it’s not classed as a toy but I want a second opinion . thank you in advance!
Cal - 4-Apr-18 @ 11:58 AM
Hi I’m looking at making painted wooden slides for children aged 1.5-4 years would this class as sports equipment?
Emmy123 - 22-Mar-18 @ 7:04 AM
Hi I would like to know if i buy a CE marked toy and add a Heat Vinly transfer name to a material part (an ear) do I need to get the soft toy re tested?If i do do you know where i can get this done,many thank
Claire - 21-Mar-18 @ 5:24 PM
Phil - Your Question:
Hi, in terms of providing a child friendly area to a retail premises, what do I need to consider? Is there any guidance that I can use as a benchmark? I am talking about an area in a store that smaller children can 'play' whilst on the premises. I am conscious that children (depending upon their age' will put things in their mouths, etc so is there any guidance on cleaning, etc that I may need to follow? Should the area in question be a specific size and only have 'toys' that meet EN standards?Any help would be appreciated.

Our Response:
RoSPA might be a good place to start looking. Your local council will also be able to advise.
ToysAdvice - 20-Mar-18 @ 3:07 PM
Hi, in terms of providing a child friendly area to a retail premises, what do I need to consider? Is there any guidance that I can use as a benchmark? I am talking about an area in a store that smaller children can 'play' whilst on the premises. I am conscious that children (depending upon their age' will put things in their mouths, etc so is there any guidance on cleaning, etc that I may need to follow? Should the area in question be a specific size and only have 'toys' that meet EN standards? Any help would be appreciated.
Phil - 19-Mar-18 @ 11:21 AM
I would like to make baby/ children’s head bands which standards would these have to comply with?
Vicky2507 - 15-Mar-18 @ 6:14 PM
I would like to do slime making workshops and sell it also using: liquid starch, pva glue, water, fragrance oil, children's paints and crafts/cosmetic glitter& foam beads. Does this come under toys and if so what would i need for this as it has chemicals?
kimmy - 14-Mar-18 @ 11:41 AM
ann07cor - Your Question:
I am knitting some dolls as a hobby using ordinary wool, no buttons or safety eyes, just using wool and stuffing them with a filler that shows the CE symbol. I would like to know if I am able to sell them Thank you

Our Response:
Are they for children? If so and you sell, them commercially they will need to be tested to EN71 standards.
ToysAdvice - 2-Mar-18 @ 3:01 PM
I am knitting some dolls as a hobby using ordinary wool, no buttons or safety eyes, just using wool and stuffing them with a filler that shows the CE symbol. I would like to know if I am able to sell them Thank you
ann07cor - 28-Feb-18 @ 6:21 PM
I bought a finger monkey toy from a shop and on the packaging says it has 40+ realistic monkey sounds and reacts to touch and sound.When I opened it all it does is sing "oh ah walla walla bing bang!" and its head lights up red - not quite Monkey sounds! - A Del Boy moment!The store will only offer me a credit note and not a refund. I would hate others children to be disappointed when buying this product.
nokesy - 22-Feb-18 @ 12:50 PM
SEB - Your Question:
I want to make and sell dolls clothes and accessories (e.g. bedding for dolls prams). I buy all my fabrics from reputable, generally high street, retailers, mostly 100% cotton. Seams are well finished and fastenings securely sewn on either by hand or machine. Are the fabrics, trims and threads already compliant with regulations given that they are being sold for home sewing? If I make the same style of outfit in, say, 6 different prints, do I need to test each one? Just the fabric or the whole outfit? However as I tend to make only a few in one particular print I couldn't afford to actually sacrifice a whole outfit to a flammability test for instance. Any advice gratefully received

Our Response:
Usually you will only have to test one example if all the products are the same design but just use a different fabric (assuming it's all the same type of fabric eg. 100% cotton). You can find also the information about BS EN71 in your local library.
ToysAdvice - 16-Feb-18 @ 2:21 PM
I want to make and sell dolls clothes and accessories (e.g. bedding for dolls prams).I buy all my fabrics from reputable, generally high street, retailers, mostly 100% cotton.Seams are well finished and fastenings securely sewn on either by hand or machine. Are the fabrics, trims and threads already compliant with regulations given that they are being sold for home sewing? If I make the same style of outfit in, say, 6 different prints, do I need to test each one?Just the fabric or the whole outfit?However as I tend to make only a few in one particular print I couldn't afford to actually sacrifice a whole outfit to a flammability test for instance.Any advice gratefully received
SEB - 14-Feb-18 @ 4:44 PM
If I buy a toy/several toys/games/soft toys and it has a CE label sewn onto it or marked on the packaging, am I allowed to sell it on? Do I have to get a copy of the CE test or is the label proof enough if conformity?
Dumpling lady - 2-Feb-18 @ 3:52 AM
KC - Your Question:
How do I find out if the contents of a toy is toxic? My son has bitten open a squishy mesh ball and clear jelly has come out. He had some in his mouth before he spat it out. I can’t find any information anywhere

Our Response:
Do you have details of the manufacturer? You could contact them directly. Chemical contents are regulated on CE labelled toys.
ToysAdvice - 24-Jan-18 @ 12:13 PM
How do I find out if the contents of a toy is toxic? My son has bitten open a squishy mesh ball and clear jelly has come out. He had some in his mouth before he spat it out. I can’t find any information anywhere
KC - 23-Jan-18 @ 2:40 PM
Jen - Your Question:
How much would it cost to have a 11.1/2" doll tested. I have obtained a safety certificate from the supplier who would be able to help me with this

Our Response:
We don't offer a testing service ourselves. Different service providers charge different amounts, so we can't really say how much it would cost.
ToysAdvice - 19-Jan-18 @ 11:28 AM
Jen - Your Question:
How would it cost to have a 11.1/2" doll tested. I have obtained a safety certificate from the supplier who would be able to help me with this

Our Response:
We don't know how much individual companies charge for a safety testing service sorry. You'd could contact them directly for a quote. Do an internet search for "toy safety testing companies" or similar.
ToysAdvice - 17-Jan-18 @ 10:57 AM
How much would it cost to have a 11.1/2" doll tested. I have obtained a safety certificate from the supplier who would be able to help me with this
Jen - 16-Jan-18 @ 4:00 PM
Hello. I am looking at selling sensory 'rainbow rings' as part of a set. It effectively is several strings of ribbon attached to a wooden ring. I was wondering A) would this be classed as a toy B) what is the length of string/ribbon classed as safe for children Thank you.
Katie - 15-Jan-18 @ 9:06 PM
How would it cost to have a 11.1/2" doll tested. I have obtained a safety certificate from the supplier who would be able to help me with this
Jen - 14-Jan-18 @ 7:26 PM
maggie - Your Question:
HiI bought a My Little Pony plush toy from Kiddicare online. It stated it was suitable from birth on their website, although not on the toy, but when it arrived, it has a long nylon mane and tail, which I would have thought could pose a choking hazard. When I queried with Kiddicare they said they contacted the supplier (manufactured by TY) who said "Testing is conducted for ALL AGES. This is because under the EU directive if a product is deemed to be likely to be given to an infant then it MUST be tested from birth regardless of any age declaration made by the manufacturer."I don't think this addresses the problem at all?

Our Response:
The testing of soft toys is quite stringent and including the fixing/strength of any elements that could become detached and pose a choking hazard.
ToysAdvice - 10-Jan-18 @ 12:45 PM
Hi I bought a My Little Pony plush toy from Kiddicare online. It stated it was suitable from birth on their website, although not on the toy, but when it arrived, it has a long nylon mane and tail, which I would have thought could pose a choking hazard. When I queried with Kiddicare they said they contacted the supplier (manufactured by TY) who said "Testing is conducted for ALL AGES. This is because under the EU directive if a product is deemed to be likely to be given to an infant then it MUST be tested from birth regardless of any age declaration made by the manufacturer." I don't think this addresses the problem at all?
maggie - 9-Jan-18 @ 3:15 PM
hayley - Your Question:
Hi I am looking to make some a frame tents to supply for childrens parties. Looking at the tutorials they are very easy to make however I want to ensure that I use all of the correct materials and they are made up to standard. All of the ones in the shops seem to be made with 100% cotton canvas and the wooden a frame only states strong dressed wood with one company mentioning pine. Please could you advise how I would proceed with this and how I arrange for the tents to be tested.Thank youKind RegardsHayley Dent

Our Response:
We can't give information on specific structures or materails. To check the standards you need to comply with. Here is an overview of some of the relevant standards. To find out specific details required, you will have to access the standards themselves, these can be found (or ordered) at your local library. As for the testing aspect, you can carry out the testing yourself or do an Internet search for one of the many companies offering this as a service.
ToysAdvice - 5-Jan-18 @ 10:46 AM
I am knitting some dolls as a hobby using ordinary wool, no buttons or safety eyes, just using wool and stuffing them with a filler that shows the CE symbol. I would like to know if I am able to sell them Thank you
ET - 4-Jan-18 @ 12:03 AM
Hi I am looking to make some a frame tents to supply for childrens parties. Looking at the tutorials they are very easy to make however I want to ensure that I use all of the correct materials and they are made up to standard. All of the ones in the shops seem to be made with 100% cotton canvas and the wooden a frame only states strong dressed wood with one company mentioning pine. Please could you advise how I would proceed with this and how I arrange for the tents to be tested. Thank you Kind Regards Hayley Dent
hayley - 2-Jan-18 @ 7:03 PM
Jen - Your Question:
I am looking in for dolls to dress I found some that I like from China how can I know that these are safe for children. They are made from pvc but have no certification. What advise do you have

Our Response:
You could buy one and have it tested yourself?
ToysAdvice - 2-Jan-18 @ 2:54 PM
Hi I'm looking to make some silicone bespoke teethers and dummy clips for babies and I was wondering how I would get a certificate to say it's safe to use thanks
Nat - 29-Dec-17 @ 4:38 PM
Hello I'm looking to get felt for a baby gym would they need any safely test?
April sloman - 29-Dec-17 @ 2:31 PM
Hi, I’m thinking of starting to make mobiles for children’s nurseries from felt, crochet and Needlefelt. Please can you advise whether this falls into the CE testing area and which other safety legislation I need to be complying with. Thank you.
Nixterbears - 28-Dec-17 @ 9:17 PM
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Latest Comments
  • Cal
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    Are educational tools classed as a toy? I want to sell drawing stencil sets with coloured pencils, pens etc..I have read…
    4 April 2018
  • Emmy123
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    Hi I’m looking at making painted wooden slides for children aged 1.5-4 years would this class as sports equipment?
    22 March 2018
  • Claire
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    Hi I would like to know if i buy a CE marked toy and add a Heat Vinly transfer name to a material part (an ear) do I need to get…
    21 March 2018
  • ToysAdvice
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    Phil - Your Question:Hi, in terms of providing a child friendly area to a retail premises, what do I need to consider? Is there…
    20 March 2018
  • Phil
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    Hi, in terms of providing a child friendly area to a retail premises, what do I need to consider? Is there any guidance that I…
    19 March 2018
  • Vicky2507
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    I would like to make baby/ children’s head bands which standards would these have to comply with?
    15 March 2018
  • kimmy
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    I would like to do slime making workshops and sell it also using: liquid starch, pva glue, water, fragrance oil, children's…
    14 March 2018
  • ToysAdvice
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    ann07cor - Your Question:I am knitting some dolls as a hobby using ordinary wool, no buttons or safety eyes, just using wool and…
    2 March 2018
  • ann07cor
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    I am knitting some dolls as a hobby using ordinary wool, no buttons or safety eyes, just using wool and stuffing them with a…
    28 February 2018
  • nokesy
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    I bought a finger monkey toy from a shop and on the packaging says it has 40+ realistic monkey sounds and reacts to touch and…
    22 February 2018
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