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Toy safety

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The safety of toys is harmonised at European level so that the essential requirements can be met at the manufacturing stage. The standards laid down by the European standardisation bodies provide evidence of compliance with the essential requirements. Toys that meet these requirements bear the CE conformity marking.

ACT

Council Directive 88/378/EEC of 3 May 1988 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning the safety of toys [See amending acts].

SUMMARY

This Directive applies to toys, i.e. any product or material designed or clearly intended for use in play by children under 14 years of age.

It lays down the safety criteria or "essential requirements" which toys must meet during manufacture and before being placed on the market.

Harmonised European standards are drawn up on the basis of the essential requirements by the European standardisation bodies. These non-mandatory standards are notified to the Official Journal of the European Union (EU).

Any toy manufactured in conformity with the harmonised standards is presumed to comply with the essential requirements.

The procedures for assessing the conformity of toys with the essential requirements are based on the modular approach set out in the Council Decision on CE conformity marking. The toy conformity assessment must be carried out:

  • either by bodies designated by the Member States on the basis of common evaluation criteria, and notified to the Commission and the other Member States;
  • or by the manufacturers themselves.

Before being placed on the market, toys must be given a CE conformity marking which:

  • symbolises their conformity with the provisions of these Directives;
  • consists of a unique acronym, namely the CE acronym;
  • is affixed by the manufacturer or its authorised representative established in the Community.

When a toy falls within the purview of other Directives that stipulate the CE marking, the marking must also indicate that the toy conforms with the requirements of those Directives.

Any other mark may be affixed to the toy, provided there is no risk of confusion with the conformity marking.

Penalties may be adopted by the Member States if they ascertain that the CE marking has been improperly used.

The new Directive 2009/48/EC on toy safety repeals Directive 88/378/EEC from 20 July 2011.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 88/378/EEC

6.5.1988

30.6.1989

OJ L 187 of 16.7.1988

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 93/68/EEC

2.8.1993

1.7.1994

OJ L 220 of 30.8.1993

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 88/378/EEC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purpose only.

RELATED ACTS

Directive 2009/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on toy safety (Text with EEA relevance).

ASSESSMENT OF CONFORMITY

Commission Decision 2007/224/EC of 4 April 2007 concerning the publication of the reference of the standard EN 71-1:2005 ‘Safety of Toys — Part 1: mechanical and physical properties’ regarding the technical requirements on projectiles with suction cups as an impact area in accordance with Council Directive 88/378/EEC on the safety of toys [notified under document number C(2007) 1460] (Text with EEA relevance).

Commission Decision 2007/184/CE of 23 March 2007 concerning the publication of the reference of the standard EN 71-1:2005 ‘Safety of Toys — Part 1: mechanical and physical properties’ regarding the technical requirements on hemispheric toys in accordance with Council Directive 88/378/EEC on the safety of toys [notified under document number C(2007) 1256] (Text with EEA relevance).

Partial non-conformity of standard EN 71-1:1998 "Safety of Toys - Part 1: mechanical and physical properties": Commission Decision 2005/195/EC [Official Journal L 63 of 10 March 2005].
This Decision partially withdraws the presumption of conformity of the standard on toys made of expanding materials. Until the standard has been amended accordingly, toys containing expanding material must have received an EC type-examination certificate.

Commission Decision 2001/579/EC [Official Journal L 205 of 31 July 2001].
This Decision concerns toys that use percussion caps and stipulates that the maximum sound pressure level of 140 dB would remain in force until 31 July 2001, after which it would be reduced to 125 dB.

Commission Decision 2004/210/EC of 3 March 2004 setting up Scientific Committees in the field of consumer safety, public health and the environment [Official Journal L 66 of 4 March 2004].
This Decision sets up three Scientific Committees; one of them – the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products – will be competent for the safety of toys placed on the market. It will provide the Commission with scientific opinions on this subject.

Directive 2005/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2005 amending for the 22nd time Council Directive 76/769/EEC on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations (phthalates in toys and childcare articles). [Official Journal L 344 of 27 December 2005].

The Commission is extending the ban on the marketing of six types of phthalates and their use for this particular purpose. As a precaution, other toys and childcare articles of soft PVC intended for children under the age of three and which could be put in the mouth, even if this is not the purpose intended by the manufacturer, shall display a warning if they contain phthalates in order to ensure safe use under all circumstances.

These measures will be reassessed no later than 2010.

Notified bodies

The notified bodies and the third countries responsible for performing the conformity evaluation procedures referred to in the “New Approach” Directives can be found in the NANDO-IS base. The list of titles and references of harmonised standards is available on the website of the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry.

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DIRECTIVE

Commission Communications:

Commission communication in the framework of the implementation of the Council Directive 88/378/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning the safety of toys (Text with EEA relevance) (Publication of titles and references of harmonised standards under the directive) [Official Journal C 99 of 30.4.2009].

Commission communication in the framework of the implementation of the Council Directive 88/378/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning the safety of toys (Text with EEA relevance) (Publication of titles and references of harmonised standards under the directive) [Official Journal C 87 of 16.4.2009].

[Official Journal C 237 of 16.9.2008];
[Official Journal C 201 of 29.8.2007];
[Official Journal C 127 of 8.6.2007];
[Official Journal C 258 of 26.10.2006];
[Official Journal C 157 of 6.7.2006];
[Official Journal C 127 of 31.5.2006];
[Official Journal C 56 of 8.3.2006];
[Official Journal C 188 of 2.8.2005];
[Official Journal L 63 of 10.3.2005];
[Official Journal C 79 of 30.3.2004];
[Official Journal C 297 of 9.12.2003];
[Official Journal C 216 of 10.8.2010].

Commission impact study of 8 October 2004 on revising Council Directive 88/378/EEC (EN) [Not published in the Official Journal].
This study examines the fields in which the rules in force could be improved and the relationship between the costs and benefits to the toys industry of the various amendments proposed.

Last updated: 17.09.2010

See also

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