BSI Group Updates Toy Safety Standards


1st December 2003

BSI Business Information has published an update to European Standard BS EN 71, which is aimed at making toys safer to use and to help manufacturers meet the 'essential requirements' set out by the EC directive for toy safety.

Since 1990 the European Community Directive for Toy Safety has set out the 'essential requirements' for manufacturers for their products to be legally sold within the European Community. In the UK, the directive is met through Toys (Safety) Regulations 1995. Toy manufacturers usually achieve this by ensuring their products satisfy all the requirements of BS EN 71, and carry CE marking.

Toys that present the greatest hazard to children in terms of flammability are disguise costumes, soft filled toys with a pile or textile surface and those worn on the head. These include hats, masks and wigs and also beards and moustaches made of hair or pile. Compliance with the updated toy safety standard, BS EN 71-2:2003 ensures that certain flammable materials, which pose the greatest risk, are prohibited from all toys.

The introduction of the new toy safety standard BS EN 71-8:2003 will set vital, new safety standards relating to swings, slides and similar activity toys, for indoor and outdoor family domestic use. It is estimated that in the UK in 1999 18,162* children were injured at home when using play equipment. Swings were involved in 6,731* injuries, slides in 6,676* and climbing frames in 4,755*.

Fatal accidents are known to have happened when a child's head gets trapped in the opening or access point of an activity toy, causing strangulation. BS EN 71-8:2003 therefore specifies that activity toys should be constructed so that a child's head or neck cannot be trapped in any of the access points. It also denotes that the toy or packaging should carry a clearly legible label "For domestic use only" and state whether it is for indoor or outdoor use.

Mike Low, director of BSI British Standards said, "Our aim is to ensure that toys are made to the highest possible safety standards in line with the requirements of the EU Directive for toy safety. It is crucial for manufacturers to conform to this important European Standard in order to help reduce the number of children that sustain injuries when playing with toys."

BS EN 71-2:2003 is £54.00, BSI Subscribing members £27.00

BS EN 71-8:2003 is £88.00, BSI Subscribing members £44.00

* Statistics relate to play or fairground equipment. Taken from the DTI Home Accident Surveillance System (HASS) database 1999.

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For more information please contact:

Wilma Tulloch on +44 (0)20 8996 6330 OR
Marc Edney on +44 (0)20 8996 6330