You have an idea for a new toy? Toy Industries of Europe outlined some tips for a successful path from the idea to the final toy, which you can present at the next Spielwarenmesse®.
1. The concept
Under the EU’s toy safety rules, the manufacturer has to evaluate the toy’s design, source compliant materials and carry out assessments throughout the manufacturing process. The toy’s conformity is therefore ensured at every stage, which avoids nasty surprises at the end. The mandatory safety assessment means identifying the requirements that toys need to comply with and making sure that they are respected from the initial design phase right through to production. Testing may be necessary at various stages throughout the whole process to make sure that the toy complies with the relevant requirements.
2. Applicable requirements
Mandatory safety assessment to identify hazards and minimize risks:
- Will stitching be strong enough to prevent young child from getting into and tearing off small pieces of foam (possible choking hazard)?
- Will plastic part be large enough not to be considered a small part?
- Will toy be resistant enough so that demanding tests do not create small parts?
- Any sharp edges or points?
- Will sourced materials comply with relevant requirements, e.g. no banned colorants in textiles?
- No need to check for certain substances in certain materials, e.g. phthalates only likely to be found in plasticized materials, not in fabrics
- Will toy be sufficiently fire resistant?
- Will design prevent overheating by using suitable electrical components
3. Supplier selection
Good and trusted relationships with suppliers are essential.
- Select suppliers whose materials comply with relevant rules
- Audit their compliance systems
- Ask for proof of compliance
- Carry out random re-evaluations when working together
- This will strengthen the likelihood of the toy being fully compliant
An opportunity to verify that the toy has been designed correctly to guarantee conformity
- Produce a few toys to identify the stages at which possible non-compliance could occur, e.g. check that the seams are strong enough to prevent children from accessing the foam.
- Make adjustments as necessary, e.g. double the stitches.
- Finalize documents outlining how to ensure safety and compliance during production.
Produce toys and carry out checks (e.g. one in every fifty toys) to make sure that the toys remain in conformity when produced in bulk.
- Consider carrying out a final random compliance inspection before allowing the toys to leave the warehouse, e.g. check that the packaging is appropriately labelled.
- Create an ‘EC Declaration of Conformity’ for the toy to certify that it is in conformity with all relevant safety requirements and show that the manufacturer takes responsibility for this.