The European Commission and national market surveillance authorities work together on toy safety and, in 2019, they focused on soft-filled toys. Surveillance is coordinated in EU member states under the CASP programme (Coordinated Activities on the Safety of Products), with regular inspections on toys sold online and in shops.
The CASP monitoring campaign revealed that unsafe toys are still marketed for babies and young children:
- Soft-filled toys with sequins pose a risk. Sequins can come off and be swallowed or inhaled by young children.
- Soft-filled toys with suction cups can also be problematic. The cups can be torn off and chewed by babies or young children. This not only poses a choking hazard, but also a health risk, because suction cups contain endocrine disruptors (phthalates) which can severely harm the reproductive system.
- Battery-operated soft-filled toys can pose chemical risks due to the possible presence of phthalates in exposed electrical wires. If batteries are easily accessible, there is also the risk that they will be swallowed by a child.
What must soft-filled toy manufacturers look out for?
- Only manufacture safe toys that comply the relevant legislation.
- Make sure that all toys bear the CE mark, and understand its meaning. By affixing the CE mark, you declare that the toy meets the safety requirements under the relevant European legislation.
- Make sure that the toy’s age classification is correct. Soft-filled toys, including those covered with sequins, are generally intended for children under the age of 3.
- Do not market any soft-filled toys with removable sequins, dangerous suction cups or easily accessible batteries.
Manufactures, importers and suppliers of soft-filled toys must ensure that the toys do not pose any risk to young consumers. Manufacturers must ensure that their toys comply with toy safety legislation, and that the marks, safety instructions and technical documentation are all correct and complete.