In Europe, the toys industry generates a revenue of over 20 billion euros annually. To be sold in European Union, toys must respect strict safety requirements and do not present any safety or health risks for children. This applies to both EU and non-EU sellers as well as to online sellers.
What to consider when selling toys in the European Union
In the European Union, the applicable legislation is Directive 2009/48/EC, the Toys Safety Directive. This Directive applies to toys intended for play by children under 14 years old, whether exclusively or not. Specifically, the wording “whether or not exclusively” indicates that a product does not have to be intended only for playing purposes to be defined as a toy. Thus, products with double functions can be toys.
Most importantly, manufacturers of toys must ensure that their products do not put safety or health at risk, considering the behaviours of children and their parents or supervisors.
CE marking and conformity assessment procedures
Each toy on the EU market is subject to a conformity assessment procedure. The CE marking to affix on the product proves that it complies with the health and safety requirements of the Directive. Manufacturers can assess the conformity of their products in two ways:
- Self-verification – Manufacturers can assess their products without the involvement of an assessment body when they apply all relevant harmonised standards.
- Notified body’s assessment (third-party verification) – The involvement of a notified body is required when there are no harmonised standards for that product, the manufacturer does not apply harmonised standards, or the manufacturer considers the involvement of a third-party assessment body as necessary.
Safety and health: warnings to display
When selling a toy, the manufacturer must provide all appropriate information for safe use. In addition to the mandatory requirements described in the Directive, harmonised standards specify further specific warnings or limitations to provide. Moreover, toys must include the minimum or maximum age of the user and, when necessary, also the weight and abilities of the user for proper use as well as to warn that the product must be used under adults’ supervision.
Manufacturers must affix the warnings in a clear and visible way, either on the labels or on the packaging, in a language easily understood in the country of sale. If appropriate, also the instructions for use should provide such warnings. Before the warning, there must be the word “Warning” or “Warnings”.
Authorised Representative for toys
As established by the Market Surveillance Regulation, non-EU manufacturers who want to sell in the European Union should have an economic operator located in a country of the EU. When the importer does not act as an economic operator under this Regulation, manufacturers of toys must appoint an Authorised Representative.
EUR-Lex. (18 June, 2009). Directive 2009/48/EC of the European Parliament ad of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the safety of toys. Retrieved on 14/10/2022.