Labels & Warnings

By  |  0 Comments
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone

A safe product is the very least we expect when buying a toy for a child to play with. However, the headline hitting safety recalls that occurred this summer remind us that potentially hazardous toys can be sold by reputable retailers and manufacturers.

What can we look for when choosing a toy to purchase? In this article we explore what the safety and age markings on packaging mean; and look at what goes on behind the scenes at testing laboratories.

Toys on sale in the UK are subject to a number of pieces of British and European legislation. The most important are the regulations covered by BS EN71.

The three most common markings on toy packaging are the CE mark, the age warning and the Lion Mark.

CE Mark

Every toy sold within the European Union must carry the CE mark along with the first supplier’s name and address. However, the CE mark is not an assurance of safety. The mark indicates that the product has been made in conformity of the essential safety requirements of the CE directive.
Small Parts Warning

Toys with small parts will carry the following warning: “Not suitable for children under 3 years of age due to small parts” or words to similar effect should be taken literally. One of the many tests toys undergo, to conform to BS EN71, is the choke test. A specially made cylinder is used that is modeled on a 3 year old’s gullet. Parts of a toy are tested by trying to place the parts into the tube. If the part cannot enter the tube, it passes. If the part completely fits in the tube leaving none of the of the part exposed, it fails. If the part fits into the table but some part is exposed and therefore accessible, the part passes; as the part could be removed.

The Lion Mark

The Lion Mark is designed to be a symbol to represent safety and quality. This symbol was introduced by the British Toy and Hobby Association. Only members of this association may display the Lion Mark and they adhere to the BTHA’s Code of Practice. Shops that are members of the BTHA may, after satisfying certain conditions, display the Lion Mark on their premises. Not every toy in the shop will display the Lion Mark but all toys will conform to the Lion Mark standard, based on BS EN71.

Collectibles & Playthings

“Warning: this is a collectible intended for adult collectors. Unsuitable for children under the age of 14 years.” A warning similar to the above should be taken literally. It means the product has not been tested or been made to pass any toy safety test.

Quite often toy manufacturers place recommended ages on packaging. These guidelines need not be taken literally and are printed as a guide to suitability for a certain age rather than a safety warning.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone