Were Toys Regulated Before the 1995 Safety Regulations?
Before the Toy (Safety) Regulations 1995 were introduced, what protected toys when it came to safety requirements?
A history of how toys were regulated, if at all, up to the present would be really interesting to find out.
Toy safety is a very confusing area of law, and there have been several sets of regulations since the 1960s.
The Toy Safety Regulations 1995 are part of consumer safety law, and as such are also regulated in English law by the Consumer Protection Act of 1987. The Consumer Protection Act regulates the safety of any product which could potentially cause injury, whether from the raw materials used to manufacture it (in the case of paints containing lead in children's toys, for example) their components and any consumer products.
Under the Consumer Protection Act, if you or your child are injured by a toy, you can make a claim for damages using this legislation, by proving that the toy was defective, and that the defect caused either death, personal injury or damage to private property. This is not affected by the Toy Safety Regulations now in force.
History of Toy Safety LegislationFrom the 1960s the law started to get tougher on toy manufacturers, subjecting them to more rules and regulations concerning toy safety. In 1961 the British Standards Institute issued new safety regulations concerning toys, including strict guidelines on the use of substances like celluloid, a ban on toys with sharp edges that could cause injury, and bans on toxic dyes.
The first specific Toy Safety Regulations were created in 1974. In 1979 the British Standards Institute (BSI) published the first toy safety standard - BS5665 - parts of which are incorporated into the current toy safety law, and covering issues such as flammability and chemical toys.
More specific legislation was introduced in the 1980s, for example the Benzene in Toy Safety Regulations 1987. There have been other now revoked sets of toy safety regulations, namely the 1974 Regulations, the Toy Safety Regulations 1989, and the Toy Safety Regulations 1993.
Current LegislationSince 1990, UK regulations have been in place implementing an EU Directive which states that all toys must satisfy certain safety requirements, carry a CE Mark, and be accompanied by warnings if necessary. This directive was replaced by the current Toy Safety Regulations 1995. Both sets of Toy Regulations were brought under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
There are also new measures on the way to make the existing toy safety standards even tougher. Changes to the legislation have been backed by the European Parliament, and include a ban on potentially cancer-causing chemicals, and chemicals believed to cause genetic changes, as well as ban on fragrances that can provoke allergic reaction and small toy parts that could possibly choke small children.