New EU-wide Law on Toys Published
No. 24 2009
On 30 June 2009, Directive 2009/48/EC on the safety of toys was published in the EU's Official Journal. The new toy safety Directive was voted through by the European Parliament in December 2008 and adopted by the Council in May 2009. The EU members are required to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by 20 January 2011 and to apply those measures from 20 July 2011. Some of the key provisions of this new legislation, which differ from the existing legislation (Directive 88/378/EEC) and which will have a significant impact on the extensive export market for toys, are highlighted below.
Definition of toys: The definition of "toys" is clarified in the new Directive as "products designed or intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age". The list of products not to be regarded as toys is expanded and clarified in Article 2 and Annex 1 of the new Directive and includes a number of products which are of interest to traders. The list of products includes further detail on existing product categories which would not fall within the scope of the Directive. The new Directive also provides that decorative objects for festivals and celebrations will not be considered toys (and not just Christmas decorations as provided in Directive 88/378/EEC). Further definitions are expanded upon in Article 3 of the new Directive, including the term "placing on the market", which is stated to mean "the first making available of a toy on the Community market". The definitions of different economic operators are also set out, including manufacturers, authorized representatives, importers and distributors. Amongst others, aquatic toys, chemical toys, olfactory board games, cosmetic kits, gustative games and design speed are also defined.
Safety: Toys which are placed on the market in the EU will be required to comply with expanded essential safety requirements. These new requirements provide, amongst other matters, that the ability of users and, where appropriate their supervisors, shall be taken into account. Further "particular safety requirements" are set out in Annex II to the new Directive. These set out requirements for toys including their: physical and mechanical properties; flammability; chemical properties; and electrical properties. Toys that are themselves substances or mixtures must comply with Council Directive 67/548/EEC, Directive 1999/45/EC, the classification and labeling Regulation (CLP Regulation 1272/2008) and the REACH Regulation (Regulation 1907/2006).
Warnings: Warnings must be marked clearly, legibly and in a manner which is understandable to consumers on the toy, an affixed label or the toy's packaging and if appropriate, on instructions for use. The new Directive also complements and reinforces existing provisions on clearly legible warnings for toys, setting out a list of warnings to be applied to certain types of toys in its Annex V. These include a general requirement to display the minimum or maximum age of the user of the toy and, where appropriate, the abilities of the user, the maximum or minimum weight of the user and the need to ensure that the toy is used only under adult supervision. Further specific warnings and the wording to be used are provided for certain categories of toys, including: toys not intended for use by children under 36 months; activity toys; functional toys; chemical toys; aquatic toys; packaging for fragrances in olfactory board games, cosmetic kits and gustative games; and toys in food.
While the Directive is set to be implemented in 2011, there are certain transitional periods which relate to certain provisions. Accordingly, for two years after the entry into force of the new Directive, toys which comply with the current legislation may be placed on the market. For the new chemical requirements, a four-year transitional period is provided for, to ensure that harmonized standards can be developed to ensure compliance.
Information Source 2009/48/EC (PDF 994 KB)
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