Monday, 7 December 2009

The Toy (Safety) Regulations 1995

I'm looking at the toy regs in this post as Christmas is coming and many of these will be given and received. Now once again there will be those who feel that reading about the toy reg is a waste of time, and by saying something is not a toy, your safe, all I can say is read on, and remember, under British law, Ignorance is No Excuse.

The Above Regulation must be followed if your selling toys or items that could be classed as toys in the UK and EU.

This includes any soft toy, wooden toy, or any other item that may be considered a toy by Trading Standard, even if you claim it's not.

Here's a link to look at guidance notes of the regulations

Toy Safety - the law in brief

Since 1 January 1990, UK Regulations which implement the European Directive
on the safety of toys have been in force.
The main requirements are that toys must:
satisfy safety requirements (termed the ‘essential safety

bear the CE marking;
bear the required name and address details;
be accompanied by warnings where necessary.
In addition, information must be maintained for inspection by enforcement

Second-hand toys must be safe but are not subject to the other requirements in
the Regulations.

The Regulations apply to manufacturers, importers, retailers, hirers and other
suppliers of new and second-hand toys - that is, anyone supplying toys in the
course of any business. Toys distributed free of charge in the course of business
are also covered.
Supplying toys which are subject to the Regulations but do not meet their requirements would constitute an offence and could result in penalties of a fine of up to £5,000 or a term of imprisonment, or both.
The same safety requirements apply everywhere in the Community, so safe toys complying with the UK Regulations, and any other applicable Community requirements, may be sold anywhere in the Community.
The essential safety requirements in the Regulations are intended to provide a comprehensive framework for ensuring that toys are safe. In order to comply with the essential safety requirements it will be necessary for some toys also to comply with other legislation - e.g. toys that are cosmetics must also comply with the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 1996 (as amended).
The Regulations do not apply to some products (e.g. toy steam engines)which might otherwise be regarded as toys but are specifically excluded from the definition of toy in the Regulations. (Note that such products are
covered by the General Product Safety Regulations 1994 and may be subject
to other requirements.)

How do I decide whether my product is a toy or not?

The Regulations define a toy as: ‘any product or material designed or clearly intended for use in play by children of less than 14 years of age, but excluding those products specified in Schedule 3’ [of the Regulations].

Only the courts can decide whether an item comes within the above definition.

(I've listed below the products not regarded as toys under the regulations)
'The following are not toys for the purpose of the Toys (Safety) Regulations 1995.
(However, in most cases they are subject to the General Product Safety Regulations
1994 (see section 6 of Annex A) and may be subject to other European legislation.)'
1. Christmas decorations.
2. Detailed scale models for adult collectors.
3. Equipment intended to be used collectively in playgrounds.
4. Sports equipment.
5. Aquatic equipment intended to be used in deep water.
6. Folk dolls and decorative dolls and other similar articles for adult collectors.
7. ‘Professional’ toys installed in public places (shopping centres, stations etc.).
8. Puzzles with more than 500 pieces or without picture, intended for specialists.
9. Air guns and air pistols.
10. Fireworks, including percussion caps (1).
11. Slings and catapults.
12. Sets of darts with metallic points.
13. Electric ovens, irons or other functional products operated at a nominal voltage
exceeding 24 volts.
14. Products containing heating elements intended for use under the supervision
of an adult in a teaching context.
15. Vehicles with combustion engines.
16. Toy steam engines.
17. Bicycles designed for sport or for travel on the public highway.
18. Video toys that can be connected to a video screen, operated at a nominal
voltage exceeding 24 volts.
19. Babies’ dummies.
20. Faithful reproductions of real firearms.
21. Fashion jewellery for children.

One of the Main requirements is that all toys must carry the CE mark either on them or in the packaging.
What is the significance of the CE marking – does it mean that the toy is safe?

The CE marking is not a European safety marking or quality symbol intended for consumers and should not be considered as such. Its purpose is to indicate to enforcement authorities that the toys bearing it are intended for sale in the European Community and signifies a declaration by the manufacturer or his authorised representative that the toys satisfy the essential safety requirements applicable to them and are entitled to access to Community markets.

Do I have to submit my toy for testing?

If the toy has been manufactured in accordance with the toys safety standards - and the standards cover all aspects relating to the toy – then it can be self-certified. In such cases, the toy may be submitted for testing but this is not mandatory under the Regulations.

Where the standards do not cover all aspects relating to the toy a sample must be submitted for EC type-examination by an Approved Body.

The toy safety standards are national standards which correspond to EU harmonised standards.

Your Item must also carry your Address details on the CE mark Certification

Can a website address be used to fulfil the name and address details which are required to be put on the toy or its packaging?

No. The name and address details are required to enable consumers or enforcement officers to contact companies. While an abbreviated address (e.g. name, postcode and city) is acceptable, a website would not because it may not be permanent

BS EN 71
The above is the National Standards by which all makers (manufacturers) must comply, they are broken down in to parts, and some may not be relevant to all toys

BS 5665: Part 1:1989 EN 71: Part 1:1988: Mechanical and Physical Properties
(until 31 January 2001)
BS EN 71 - 1:1998: Mechanical and Physical Properties
BS EN 71 - 2:1994: Flammability
BS EN 71 - 3:1995: Specification for Migration of Certain Elements
BS EN 71 - 4:1998: Experimental Sets for Chemistry and Related Activities
BS EN 71 - 5:1993: Chemical Toys (sets) other than Experimental Sets
BS EN 71 - 6:1995: Graphical Symbol for Age Warning Labelling
BS EN 50088:1996: Safety of Electrical Toys

For most craft makers BS EN 71 - 1 1998, BS EN 71 - 3:1995 and BS EN 71 - 6:1995 are the three standards that you need to be most concerned with.

Most Library's carry subscriptions to online databases, and when i carried out my research a few years ago, i was able to access the BSI online database free at my local library

You need to know that if you make and sell anything that could be classed as a toy, that you must comply with the regulations, and to do that you can self certify your process in the making of your toys, To self certify you must also be able to comply with the standards set out in BS EN 71.

Sorry about the length of this post, I've edited it down as much as I can, Feel free to ask questions


  1. Its also worth bearing in mind for anyone making anything for children that it is extremely important to have your product liability insurance in place. Having dealt with a claim in the past where a small child tripped on the way up the stairs of her home, she fell backwards from the second stair and landed hard on the back of her head. At the time she was wearing one of those hair bobbles that it a coated elastic with two large plastic balls, one at either end and one of the balls embedded itself in the child's skull. The bobble itself had been manufactured to comply with all safety regulations, but the court found that the manufactured should have foreseen that because the item was aimed at toddlers and small children, accidents involving a stumble or trip should have been foreseen and the plastic balls should have been constructed from something else, the example given was a hollow plastic ball which would have crushed on inpact. The court awarded £18,500 which was paid along with substantial legal expenses by the manufacturers insurance company. A court will not take pity on someone without insurance and anyone ending up in a similar position to this manufacturer without good insurance in place will likely find themselves served with a court enforcement and soon after that, homeless!

  2. I'm interested to see fashion jewellery is excluded in the context of leanne's comment above. I have bracelets for children made with glass beads... need to investigate this further - thanks for the post Woody

  3. Sorry Haptree I should have mentioned that even though the bobble wasn't considered a toy it was still designed for use by children and therefore had to comply with the Child Product Safety Regs which cover just about everything (other than toys) designed for use by children.

  4. Thanks for posting all of this Woody, it's made interesting (and worrying) reading. I have an item for sale in my shop that would be classed as a toy although I have stated that it has small parts and is not for very young children. I'll probably delist the item now, unless it can be relisted as a keepsake, not under the toy section and state it is for over 14s. However, I see from your post that courts decide whether something is a toy or not! Your thoughts would be gratefully received. Elaine

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