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Safety First for Children’s Toys in EU

European Commission 21/12/2011

As children unwrap the longed-for teddy bear, tricycle or lightsaber this Christmas, their parents can rest assured that toys bought in the EU are the safest in the world.

Every toy sold in the EU has undergone a number of checks to ensure that it is safe for children to play with.

Before placing a new toy on the market, manufacturers must identify potential dangers via a safety assessment. They must also ensure that each toy can be traced back to the factory where it was made.

While Europe holds 25% of the global toy market share, not all toys bought in the EU are made here. In 2010, imports of traditional toys from non-EU countries amounted to €6.98 billion. It is important to make sure that these toys meet the safety standards that we expect in Europe – this is done through checks at the EU’s borders and at the premises of distributers.

New, stronger EU laws on toy safety took effect in July. There are new rules on small parts that could be swallowed or inhaled, and on packaging toys together with food.

But the law can only do so much to keep kids safe. Even a toy designed for a 10-year-old that has passed all tests could be dangerous in the hands of a toddler. The EU is therefore running a campaign to raise awareness among shoppers of what they should look out for when buying toys for children.

The video “Ensuring toy safety for our children” has been aired around Europe, while a card listing toy-safety tips pdf - 984 KB [984 KB] has been handed out in toy shops. Advice includes buying only toys displaying the CE mark – proof of compliance with EU safety rules, reading all instructions and always buying from trustworthy shops.