How is a toy defined?
A toy is defined as any product intended, whether or not exclusively, to be used in play by children under the age of 14.
Toy Safety Regulations
In 2009, an updated Toy Safety Directive (Directive 2009/48/EC) came in to force and since 2011, all businesses involved in placing toys on the market, including manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers, have specific duties in ensuring that the toys meet strict safety standards. These requirements apply to all toys that are for sale or even free toys included as part of a promotion.
The updated legislation, the European Communities (Safety of Toys) Regulations 2011 [S.I. 14 of 2011], as amended, transposed the requirements of the new Directive into Irish legislation and increased the standard of safety of toys in a number of specific ways. There have been a number of amendments made to this legislation under the following regulations:
- European Communities (Safety of Toys) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 [S.I. No. 13/2013]
- European Communities (Safety of Toys) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2015 [S.I. No. 572/2015]
- European Communities (Safety of Toys) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 [S.I. No. 644/2016]
- European Union (Safety of Toys) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 [S.I. No. 176/2017]
- European Union (Safety of Toys) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2017 [S.I. No. 568/2017]
- European Union (Safety of Toys) (Amendment) Regulations, 2018 [S.I. No. 295/2018]
- European Union (Safety of Toys) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 [S.I. No. 362/2019]
The Toy Safety Regulations regulate toys and prohibit the placing of toys on the market unless they meet essential health and safety requirements, including mechanical, chemical and flammability requirements.
For example, new chemical requirements were brought in to reduce the risk of children suffering allergic reactions due to exposure to hazardous chemicals in toys and there are new requirements to reduce the risk of children choking on small parts. Hazard warnings on toys must be clear, legible and easily understandable and there are stricter requirements for toys that are designed for children under 36 months of age.
All businesses that manufacture, import, distribute or sell toys in Ireland should familiarise themselves with the requirements of the European Communities (Safety of Toys) Regulations 2011 [S.I. 14 of 2011], as amended. Manufacturers of toys must ensure that toys are made safely and must carry out an assessment of the safety of the toys they make. Once satisfied that the toy is safe, a manufacturer can then place the CE Mark on the toy. This mark is an indication that the toy meets the safety requirements. Distributors, importers and retailers must ensure that the toys they place on the market meet these safety requirements and that the CE mark and the supporting documentation for the CE mark are in order.
Must toys have a CE mark?
Yes, all toys which are in compliance with the Toy Safety Regulations must carry a CE mark, and toys or their packaging must contain the name and address of the manufacturer and the importer if different.
Markings & Warnings
Look at the toy, the labelling, instructions for use or the packaging and ensure that the following information is included:
- Name and address of the manufacturer, and importer (where applicable) within the EC
- The CE mark shall be affixed visibly, legibly and indelibly to the toy, to an affixed label or to the packaging. Where the CE mark is not visible from outside the packaging, it shall be affixed to the packaging
- The age grading, where appropriate, for safe use
- Warnings need to be clear, legible and easily understandable
- Instructions for use, if required
- There may also be a reference to EN71, which is the European Harmonised Standard for toy safety
Other products for children
Not all products for children under 14 are considered toys. Specific rules also exist for ensuring the safety of other children’s products such as:
- Pacifiers (soothers)
These items are regulated under the European Communities (General Product Safety) Regulations 2004.
Also bear in mind that safety issues should be taken into account with any other products you sell that aren’t toys but that are appealing to a child (a child is any person under the age of 14 years).
We work with businesses to assist them in meeting their obligations. We also will take action against businesses who do not comply with the requirements. Where toys pose a serious risk to the health and safety of children, we can order businesses to destroy them. We work closely with Customs to stop unsafe toys being imported into Ireland. Regardless of the classification, all consumer products on the market should be safe.
Consumers can find more tips when buying toys here.
You can read more about your legal obligations in relation to toy safety under the European Communities (Safety of Toys) Regulations, 2011 [S.I. No. 14/2011]
Contact the National Standards Authority of Ireland for additional information on standards issued in Ireland.
If you come across a toy that seems unsafe or doesn’t have a CE mark, do not put it on the market. Instead, notify the CCPC by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you become aware of any safety issues or concerns, please contact our product safety team by emailing email@example.com.