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Compliance: not child’s play

Toys are popular merchandise items, and because of their target market, they come with important compliance considerations. Rob Hinchcliffe explains why EN71 should be on your radar.

Under the European Toy Safety Directive, all toys have to show they are compliant to EN71 as a legal requirement. The EN71 standard for the safety of toys made or imported into the European Union specifies the tests to perform to comply with the European directives. Compliance to the standard is mandatory for all toys and the tests are also often used to show compliance to the General Product Safety Directive for child appealing products not classified as having play value. The EN71 standard is divided in 13 parts, this article presents and explains parts 1, 2 and 3 which are the most commonly used parts of the standard.

EN71-1: Physical & Mechanical
Requirements The first part of EN71 regulates the mechanical and physical properties of toys. The section contains a significant number of important tests. For example, minimum sizes of parts for very small toys are defined, so that babies and young children under three cannot swallow them or choke on them, as well as detection of sharp points or edges, impact hazards and entrapment. During the design process, buyers and suppliers should be aware of the standard and its various clauses that should assist in the design and development of all products aimed at or sold to all children.

EN71-2: Flammability
Most materials used by manufacturers to produce toys will burn if exposed to an appropriate ignition source. To reduce the risks of burn injuries associated with children being in contact with certain toys, different testing methods have been defined to identify a limited rate of spread of flame or maximum ‘after flame time’ to give time for the child to drop the toy or take distance from it before serious injury occurs.

EN71-3: Migration of
Certain Chemicals The EN71 standard part 3 is focused on analysing the chemicals contained within the toy and the levels in which they are present. Since July 2013, the regulation has extended the metal restrictions and application scope to a wider range of toys. There are 19 metals restricted now including lead, cadmium, and chromium.

The limitation varies depending on if it is: Category I – in dry, brittle, powderlike or pliable toy material, such as compressed paint tablets, chalk or crayons, plaster of Paris, or modeling compounds like Plasticine: Solid materials which may leave residues on the hands. Category II – in liquid or sticky toy material, such as bubble mixture, glue, or poster paints: Fluid or viscous materials which can be ingested or have skin contact. Category III – in scraped-off toy material, such as uPVC, plywood, plush fabrics, or various metals and alloys: Solid materials which can be ingested by biting, tooth scraping, sucking or licking.

Rob Hinchcliffe is UK hardlines manager at testing and certification company SGS

 

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