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What is This Toy Safety Mark?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 6 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Toy Safety Toy Safety Mark Symbol Ce

Q.

I have a friend who is doing an NVQ in childcare - she has a question about a symbol which we can't find on the net - it's a triangle with 2 lines (like a z mark) on the right hand side. Underneath it says BSI safety mark.

Do you know what the symbol means?

(K.H, 18 March 2009)

A.

The toy safety symbol that you describe isn't one that I've heard of, and certainly isn't anything that's generally used on toys. There is one official Toy Safety mark, which is designed for manufacturers, importers and toy retailers rather than the general public, and this is the CE Mark which signifies that the toy in question has passed all the necessary compliance tests for toys imported into and manufactured in the EU. All new toys that you buy should display this symbol somewhere.

This toy safety symbol, which should be displayed along with the name and address of the supplier, is legally required to appear on all toys for sale in the European Union. The CE Mark was introduced to ensure that there was a free market for all toys throughout the EU - a bit like a toy passport.

The CE Mark is really meant for Enforcement Authorities like Trading Standards departments, and it doesn't signify quality or safety - which is what many consumers think.

Toy Quality Symbols

The only quality assurance symbols, which are often used alongside the CE Mark, are the Lion Marks which are awarded by the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) to reassure consumers of the toy's safety and quality. To use this mark on a toy, the manufacturer has to be a member of the BTHA. To become a member of the BTHA, and to be able to use the Lion Mark, a supplier has to agree to adhere to a strict code of practice, which, as well as covering issues that relate to toy safety, also places demands on members that relate to ethics in advertising and other trading practices.

There is an associated scheme, just applying to retailers, called the Approved Lion Mark Retailer Scheme.

There are no other official toy safety marks that are generally used by manufacturers, and the symbol that you describe isn't a common one, or indeed one that I'm aware of. The generally used BSI Safety Mark is the standard kitemark symbol, which denotes a product which has been independently tested by the British Standards Institute for safety. This shows that the product conforms to any British Standards which apply to it, and that it should be safe and reliable. There is no legal requirement for toys to display a kitemark, although some do.

There are no other officially recognised safety symbols - although there is a warning symbol which indicates that a toy is not suitable for children under the age of three. It sounds as if the toy symbol you describe may well be a symbol recognised outside of the EU.

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