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Toy Safety Regulations

The following information is for guidance only. For further information, please contact your local Trading Standards Service.

Who do the Toy (Safety) Regulations 1995 apply to?

The regulations apply to manufacturers, retailers, hirers and other suppliers of new and second-hand toys – i.e. anyone supplying toys in the course of any business.

A person who makes toys for organisations like church groups, school bazaars would probably not fall within the definition of a business but charity shops and toys made to be sold in such outlets would be caught.

The Regulations specify “supply” (which includes offering, agreeing, exposing and processing for supply) rather than sell therefore toys distributed free of charge in the course of a business would be caught also.

Second-hand toys must be ‘safe’ but are not subject to other requirements found within the regulations.

What is the definition of a toy?

A toy is any product or material designed or clearly intended for use in play by children of less than 14 years of age.

There are some exclusions to this definition. A list of articles not regarded as toys is provided at the end of these guidance notes.

What do I need to do to ensure that I supply toys which are safe and satisfy current safety legislation?

All toys must satisfy the Essential Safety Requirements. The Essential Safety requirements consist of ‘General Principles’ and ‘Particular Risks’.

  The ‘Particular Risks’ cover the following areas:

*         Physical and Mechanical Properties;

*         Flammability;

*         Chemical Properties;

*         Electrical Properties;

*         Hygiene;

*         Radioactivity

How do I satisfy the Essential Safety Requirements?

There are two methods which satisfy the Essential Safety Requirements.

Method 1  

Any toy which is manufactured in conformity with the relevant national standards (in the UK BS5665) and where these standards relate to all matters covered by the Essential Safety Requirements, the toy shall be presumed to satisfy the Essential Safety Requirements. It should be noted in order to satisfy the broad principles of the Essential Safety Requirements, some toys covered by the Toy (Safety) Regulations 1995 will also need to comply with other legislation. In many cases it would be advisable for you to consider having the product assessed using the services of an independent test laboratory.

Physical & Mechanical Properties

*         Must be sufficiently strong to withstand the stresses to which it would normally be subjected;

*         Be designed & constructed so that any edges, protrusions, cords, fastenings or moveable parts do not inflict injury;

*         Toys & component parts intended for use by children under 36 months shall be of such dimension to prevent accidental swallowing or inhalation;

*         Toys & their packaging must not present a strangulation or suffocation risk;

*         Toys used in water and capable of supporting a child shall be designed to minimise risk from loss of buoyancy;

*         Toys which a child enters and constitutes an enclosed space must have adequate exits which can be easily opened from the inside;

*         Ride-on Toys, as far as practical, to have easy to use braking facility;

*         Projectiles fired from toys to be designed to prevent injury;

*         Toys containing heating elements to be designed to prevent burns from accessible surfaces, discharged liquids or gases


Toys to be composed of materials which are not readily flammable and inhibit the spread of flames.

Paint and Protective Coatings  

Levels of Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, Mercury and Selenium must not exceed specified maximums.  

Electrical Properties  

Toys must not have a power source exceeding 24 volts and must be adequately insulated and protected to prevent shock or burns.  


All toys must meet hygiene and cleanliness requirements to prevent the risk of infection, sickness & contamination.  


Toys must not contain radioactive elements likely to be detrimental to the health of children

Method 2  

The second method is to manufacture the toy in accordance with a model which has been EC type examined. An EC type-examination certificate will have been issued by an approved body confirming that the model of the toy conforms with the Essential Safety Requirements which are applicable to that toy. When undertaking EC type-examinations an approved body must use as far as possible, the relevant national standards. Where such standards do not cover all the Essential Safety Requirements applicable, reference must then be made to any relevant harmonised European Standards. If this is insufficient to meet the Essential Safety Requirements, the approved body must then use its professional judgement to devise any additional test procedures

How do I demonstrate evidence of conformity with the Essential Safety Requirements?

Evidence of conformity can be demonstrated in the following manner:

-          The manufacturer can make a declaration. This is known as a ‘Declaration of Conformity’;

-          An independent body can produce a certificate. This is known as a ‘Certificate of Conformity’;

-          Test Results can be obtained from an independent body. This can be in the form of production files, declarations etc.

Where a Directive requires an independent assessment of a product, then it must be carried out by an organisation which has been nominated by the government. These organisations are referred to as ‘Notified Bodies’ and the European Commission must be made aware of this.

The British Standards Institute is a ‘notified body’ in the UK and as such, offers a full range of services as required by Directives

These services include standards identification; technical file evaluation; initial type testing; quality system assessment; factory production control (FPC) system assessment; EC certificate issue; surveillance of product and quality system or (FPC).

What information do I have to retain for each product?

Regulation 11 of the Toy (Safety) Regulations 1995 requires you to keep certain information available for inspection by the enforcement authority.

This information differs depending on which method you have used to satisfy the Essential Safety Requirements.

Regulation 11 suggests the use of a ‘technical file’ when retaining information on a product.

A technical file which is regularly updated should be kept for each product and should consist of:

-          a general description of the product;

-          design and manufacturing drawings;

-          explanations and descriptions of any drawings included and schemes referred to in the above;

-          a list of the standards applied in full or in part and descriptions of the solutions adopted to satisfy the requirements of regulation 5(1) where standards have not been applied;

-          results of examinations carried out;

-          test reports

What are the labelling requirements?  

Regulation 10 of the Regulations provides information on the labelling of toys. Once a toy meets the Essential Safety Requirements the ‘CE’ mark must be applied. The ‘CE’ mark is a declaration by the manufacturer or importer that the toy is safe. The name and address of the manufacturer or importer must also be given. 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 or an associated display box.

Toy Safety Regulations  

Some toys must also carry safety warnings and instructions for safe use of the toy.  

Where necessary toys must be accompanied with clear, legible information and risk warnings concerning:

·         Age suitability of the toy e.g. not suitable for

children under 36 months or the logo.

·         Assembly instructions, frequency of maintenance and inspection on activity toys

·         Need for supervision;

·         Need for protective clothing or equipment  

Second Hand Toys  

Suppliers of second-hand toys will not need to ensure that toys bear the CE mark and the name & address of the first supplier but all other safety requirements still apply. Markings do not have to be removed and in fact it would be best practice to keep these markings on. An already CE marked toy would be a good indication that the toy is likely to comply with the “Essential Requirements” but checks for damage/completeness should be conducted and that appropriate instructions and warnings are available.

Collectors Toys

If you sell second-hand toys that are clearly intended as “collectors items” and recognised as such Trading Standards recommends that:

Toys Produced at Home

Even though the Regulations relate to persons acting in the course of a business there may be occasions that toys are made and supplied “outside a business arena”. As the regulations relate to safety it would, of course, be wise for all toys to comply whether or not they are sold in the course of a business.

Trading Standards recommends therefore that such toys are:

*         Labelled with the name & address of the maker;

*         Bear a CE mark as a means of certifying the toy is safe according to the standards already described.

Soft Toys are the most common “home produced toy”

*         Toys must pass a standard test for flammability;

*         Stuffing material must not contain any hazard or sharp objects and must not be readily accessible through seams (this presents a choking hazard). It must be clean & hygienic;

*         Components which may become detached (eyes, noses, buttons etc) must be fixed so as to withstand a force of 90N.

Manufactures are required to keep a dossier of information supporting their application of the CE mark. For home producers it is essential that you maintain such a dossier which should contain letters from suppliers of the raw materials to confirm that they supplied materials that comply with the British Standard. Details of how the toy is made and precautions taken with regard to fixing small parts and tests done to make sure that they are adequately secured should also be included in the dossier.

The Consumer Protection Act 1987 applies to any producer of goods and makes any person (not just those in the course of a business) liable for any damage or personal injury caused by unsafe goods.

This is only a short guide for home producers and there are many more requirements that may be applicable dependent on the type of toy being made.

Products specifically exempted from the Toy (Safety) Regulations 1995

-          Christmas decorations;

-          Detailed scale models for adult collectors;

-          Equipment intended to be used collectively in playgrounds;

-          Sports equipment

-          Aquatic equipment intended to be used in deep water;

-          Folk dolls and decorative dolls and other similar articles for adult collectors;

-          “Professional” toys installed in public places (shopping centres, stations etc)

-          Puzzles with more than 500 pieces or without a picture, intended for specialists;

-          Air guns and air pistols;

-          Fireworks, including percussion caps;

-          Slings and catapults;

-          Sets of darts with metallic points;

-          Electric ovens, irons or other functional products operated at a nominal voltage exceeding 24 volts;

-          Products containing heating elements intended for use under the supervision of an adult in a teaching context;

-          Vehicles with combustion engines;

-          Toy steam engines;

-          Bicycles designed for sport or for travel on the public highway;

-          Video toys that can be connected to a video screen, operated at a nominal voltage exceeding 24 volts;

-          Babies’ dummies;

-          Faithful reproductions of real firearms;

-          Fashion jewellery for children.

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.


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