Fabian Demicoli

Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC (FAQs)

 On 30 June 2009
the new Toy Safety Directive was published. It substantially amends the old Directive across virtually all safety
aspects. It fulfils to
the highest level the newest health and safety standards.

It improves the
existing rules for the marketing of toys that are produced in and imported into
the EU in view to reducing toy related accidents and achieving long-term health
benefits.

According to its Better Regulation initiative, the Commission has also
engaged in simplifying the current legislative framework and increasing its
quality and efficiency.

Below you can find some frequently asked questions (FAQS) that can
simplify the understanding of this directive:

 

1. Does the Toy Safety Directive (TSD) affect
toys sold online?

The TSD also applies to toys sold online. Warnings must be clearly
visible to the consumer before they purchase the toy, and this includes
displaying them on internet website. If a consumer orders a toy on a website,
the warnings must be written in the language used on the website. If the
website is in several languages, the warnings must be visible to the consumer
in the language of the webpage they are using.

When selling toys online, it is recommended to display toys in such way
that the CE-marking is visible to the market surveillance authorities, to whom
it is addressed.

 

2. Are books with olfactory substances subject
to the TSD?

It depends on the classification of the book. Reading books are not
considered as toys and therefore are not subject to the TSD but to the General
Product Safety Directive (GPSD). In order to know whether or not a book falls
under the scope of the TSD, it is key to first assess whether it is a toy.

There is a guidance document of the European Union (EU) about children's
books and toys, which can be found here:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/toys/documents/guidance/index_en.htm.

 

3. Are teddy-shaped school bags and school
materials subject to the TSD? Is there a technical guidance document giving
concrete examples of borderline products that may or may not be considered as
toys?

The scope of the TSD applies to "products designed or intended, whether
or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age". The
words "whether or not exclusively" have been added to the definition to
indicate that the product does not have to be exclusively intended for playing
purposes in order for it to be considered as a toy, but it can have other
functions as well. For example, a key-ring with a teddy bear attached to it or
a sleeping bag in the shape of a soft filled toy are considered as toys.
Teddy-shaped school bags and school materials are therefore very likely to fall
under this definition, but a case-by-case assessment is always necessary.

The main problem with this definition is the concept of "use in play" or
"play value". Almost everything has play value for a child, but this does not
mean that every object falls under the definition of a toy. To be considered as
a toy for the purpose of the Directive, the play value has to be introduced in
an intended way by the manufacturer. However, the reasonably foreseeable use of
a product prevails over the declaration of intended use by the manufacturer. If
the manufacturer labels the products as not being a toy, he has to be able to
support this claim.

Guidance document number 4 gives further criteria that need to be
considered when deciding whether to classify a product as a toy. Section 1.2.1
of the TSD Explanatory Guidance document also contains useful information in
this regard. Both documents are available here:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/toys/documents/guidance/index_en.htm.

 

4. Are cheaper toys less safe?

All toys placed on the EU market must be safe and must comply with all
applicable legislation, regardless of their price.

 

5. Is it true that toys made of natural
materials are safer?

All toys placed on the EU market must be safe and comply with all
applicable legislation, regardless of the material used. Natural materials may
contain chemical substances that are prohibited or restricted in the TSD.

 

6. If someone changes a toy, is he considered
a manufacturer?

An importer or distributor, who modifies the product and by doing so
alters its compliance, assumes the obligations and responsibilities of the
manufacturer and is responsible for the conformity of the product. He does not
have to provide details to customs unless requested but must ensure that he has
the up-to-date technical documentation, which takes into consideration the
changes made to the toy.

 

Source: European Commission

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