What do we look for when we buy toys?
To be included in our selection toys have to be well made, enjoyable to play with, bring an educational or learning element to play, and of course, are safe to use. The last one is of the utmost importance.
Toys in the UK
In the UK consumers are protected by legislation and the work of British Standards (BSI). All toys available to buy in the UK must comply with the European Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC, enacted in the UK as the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011.
The British Standard BS EN 71 explains how manufacturers should meet the requirements of the Directive, stating how toys should be manufactured and tested and the safety warnings they must carry.
Our international suppliers have to comply with these requirements
What Safety marks to look for when buying toys
Make sure the BS EN 71, CE Mark and the red ‘age indicator’ circle are on the toys you buy. Some toys will also have the Lion Mark. These marks guarantee that the companies supplying the products have made their products to the correct standards to be safe for children.
The BS EN 71 shows the product conforms to the European Toy Safety Directive (as above).
All toys must carry the CE Mark, which shows that the manufacturer has meet the requirements of the European Directive and that the product is for sale in the European Community.
Also look out for the red circle with a child’s face and 0 – 3 with a line through it which indicates that the product is ‘Not suitable for children under 36 months.’ Toys that are suitable for children under 3 years undergo more rigorous testing.
The Lion Mark is controlled by the industry group, British Toy and Hobby Association. Manufacturers follow the BTHA code of practice and toys then meet the requirements of BS EN 71.
BSI is the UK National Standards Body which has been developing standards for more than 100 years to make products and services safer for consumers.
Before toys reach the shelves of retailers they undergo may tests to ensure they are safe to use, for example, this could be to check if the toy has sharp edges or corners, or that the paints used are non-toxic, or the item cannot stab, trap, mangle or choke.
A toy is defined as any product ‘designed or intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age’.
BS EN 71 was designed by the European Committee for Toy Safety which is made up of experts from trade associations, professional bodies, the industry, test houses, and the BSI Consumer and Public Involvement Network.
Electrical toys and some other outdoor products have to conform to different BS standards.
* Make sure younger children are supervised when the play with older siblings’ toys that may not be age appropriate.
* Throw away the wrapping around a toy especially if it is plastic and has long ties or strings.
* Check toys frequently to ensure they are not broken.