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Brussels, 13 October 2011
EU DOES NOT ban children from blowing up balloons
A number of recent media reports have made incorrect claims about the new Toy safety Directive, which entered into force on 20 July 2011 (IP/11/908). Several media have falsely claimed that the Directive would ban children under 8 from inflating balloons without adult supervision, because of the danger that young children could chew or swallow the balloon. Other inaccurate reports have stated that children under 14 would be banned from using paper blow outs. To correct these claims, below is the true scope of the Directive.
Clarification of the case: EU toy safety rules on balloons
"Warning! Children under eight years can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep uninflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once."
The previous toy safety directive 88/378 contained essential safety requirements aiming to prevent children from risk of choking / suffocation:
These requirements are general, and technical specifications on how to comply with them are described in the standards (namely standard EN 71-1). The standard required for balloons is to bear the above warning.
A balloon manufacturer is deemed to meet the essential safety requirement once he complies with the standard's requirements (affixing the required warning).
More information: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/toys/index_en.htm