Toy Safety Regulations
The Toys (Safety) Regulations 1995 set out the legal requirements for the safety of toys supplied by a business.
A Toy is defined as:
any product or material designed or clearly intended for use in play by children of less than 14 years of age.
All new toys that you supply in the course of a business must be marked with:
- the name and address of the manufacturer or importer; and
- the CE mark.
The CE mark is a declaration by the manufacturer or importer that the toy is safe.
These marks must be on the toy or its packaging, and be permanent and easy to read.
On small toys, these marks may be on:
- a label attached to the toy;
- an accompanying leaflet;
- an associated display box.
Warnings and Instructions
Some toys must come with warnings and instructions about precautions that need to be taken to ensure safe use. Special warnings are required as follows (and where specific instructions are required, you should seek further advice or refer directly to the Regulations):
- Toys that are not suitable for children under 3 require a warning to this effect (stating the reason why, e.g. choking hazard).
- Swings, slides and similar toys require instructions for assembly and for periodic checks and maintenance.
- 'Functional' toys (i.e. those which are used in the same way as, and are often scale models of, appliances or installations intended for adults) require the following marking: "Warning: to be used under the direct supervision of an adult". They also require specific safety instructions and an indication that they must be kept out of the reach of very young children.
- Toys containing inherently dangerous substances or preparations, such as chemical toys, require specific safety instructions, a statement of a minimum age limit for use and a statement that the toy is to be used under adult supervision. Where appropriate, additional requirements as to labelling and packaging may apply under the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2002.
- Toys such as skateboards or skates require specific instructions and the following marking: "Warning: protective equipment should be worn".
- Toys for use in the water, such as rubber rings, require the following marking: "Warning! Only to be used in water in which the child is within its depth and under supervision".
Toys which are second-hand do not need to be labelled with the CE mark or the address of the manufacturer or distributor, but they must still meet the legal standards. The special warnings and instructions (see above) are required for both second-hand and new toys.
You are advised to only sell second-hand toys which are CE marked, contain any relevant instructions or warnings and have been checked for any obvious faults.
Keeping within the law
If you sell toys that are incorrectly marked or unsafe, you will be breaking the law and may be prosecuted. You could be fined up to £5000 and imprisoned for up to six months.
Other children's products
Trading Standards Officers also enforce and can provide guidance on the safety of other products, such as prams, pushchairs, clothing, beds, bicycles and car seats.