European Toy Safety Campaign with dedicated website
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EU rules for toys impose the highest safety requirements in the world. To ensure these laws are correctly implemented and effective we need to ensure they are applied in practice by reliable and trustworthy toy manufacturers and retailers; backed up by efficient market surveillance by Member States’ authorities, and, importantly, that consumers know what to look for when they buy toys for children.
As part of the on-going “European Toy Safety” campaign, the European Commission is launching a new video informing consumers how to both buy safe toys and use them safely. The video features CE-E, a singing robot, to introduce children to the idea of toy safety. The video also provides parents with access to toy safety tips on the dedicated campaign website.
The video clip emphasises certain safety tips to be kept in mind when buying toys and playing with them, and can be seen here.
Never buy toys without the CE mark
The CE mark is a commitment from the toy maker that the toy complies with all applicable EU safety rules, which are amongst the strictest world wide.
Do not buy toys with small detachable parts for children under 3 years of age
Choking is a particular risk for children under 3 years old, because they tend to put everything in their mouth! Toys bearing this symbol are not suitable for children under 3.
Read all warnings and instructions
For example, toy skates, bikes and scooters require parental supervision and protective equipment such as helmets to be worn because of abrasion hazards. They cannot be used in traffic because of the risk of road accidents.
These are not the only things parents need to keep in mind. More advice on toy safety is available on the dedicated Europa web page: ec.europa.eu/enterprise/toys-tips.
Industry and Member States roles in toy safety
Key aspects of ensuring toy safety are under the responsibility of the toy industry and EU Member States regulatory authorities. Industry is responsible for making sure that the toys they place on the market comply with the rules while Member States are responsible for enforcing the rules and conducting market surveillance.
Information campaign for manufacturers
The Commission is currently running a toy safety information campaign targeting economic operators involved in toy manufacturing and marketing. The campaign, which uses seminars to raise manufacturer and retailer awareness of toy safety rules, started in January 2012 in Romania and went on to Bulgaria, France, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Ireland and Italy. These countries were chosen because in 2009 they made 80% of total EU toy production. The training and information campaign continues in 2013, in order to cover all Member States. The Commission also educates manufacturers in China, since most of the toys in our shops are imported from there.
Controlling CE marking
The CE mark assures the consumer that the product is assessed before being placed on the market and meets EU safety, health and safety and environmental protection requirements. Supervisory authorities in all Member States must ensure efficient controls on the legitimate use of the CE mark by toy manufacturers, importers and distributors.
They are also encouraged by the Commission to coordinate with each other to ensure coherence in standards interpretation, thus upholding businesses confidence that the market operates openly and evenly. By affixing the CE mark on a product, the manufacturer declares and takes full responsibility for the product’s conformity with all relevant legal requirements. Proper enforcement of CE marking will win and maintain consumer confidence while the legal and economic repercussions of not complying with the rules are considerable, thus deterring the vast majority of legitimate businesses from breaking these laws.