New Toy Safety Directive
A new directive aiming at strengthening the EU rules on toy safety is under development. It is expected that the new directive will enter into force later this year. Member states will then have two years to implement its provisions in national law. In the meantime, the current 1988 directive on toy safety will remain in force and toys produced in accordance with it may continue to be placed on the market.
The EC proposal covers toys which are "products designed or intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age". The overall aim is to reduce "toy-related accidents and [achieve] long-term health benefits".
Among the measures proposed are the following:
→ Rules governing the use of chemicals and other potentially harmful substances that are used in "accessible parts of toys".
→ Strengthened rules to prevent children choking or suffocating on parts of toys. Toys attached to food products and which are accessible only once the food has been consumed (eg party lollipops) will be banned.
→ Clearer warnings on the use of certain toys.
→ Strong national market surveillance systems, including proper checks at EU borders and company premises to ensure that dangerous toys are prohibited or withdrawn.
- Strengthened obligations for manufacturers, importers and distributors when making toys available. The traceability of toys through the supply chain will be strengthened too.
The new directive will not apply to
→ playground equipment intended for public use;
→ automatic playing machines, whether coin operated or not, intended for public use;
→ toy vehicles equipped with combustion engines;
→ toy steam engines;
→ slings and catapults.
An annex to the text gives a more detailed list of products excluded from the directive. It includes some sports equipment (roller skates, skateboards etc.), some bicycles and scooters, "swimming learning devices", computer games and many more.
IAAPA Europe will monitor the progress of this proposal.