The A-List of Traditional Toys

The Toy Guru's Best of the Best:-

Sit and Ride Toy age 1-3yrs : Jamm Scoot by Indigo Jamm 
Baby Walker: age 9 months - 18months :  Walker by Pintoy
Wooden Xylophone  12 mths - Neo Xylophone - Wonderworld toys
Wooden Pullalong - 1-2 years Pullalong Alligator by Plan Toy
Simple Matching Toy - Pop Up Toy 12mths+ by Galt

The EU Directive - New Levels of Responsibility.

So who is now responsible for making sure that items for sale in the UK meet this new directive?

All toys sold in Europe must carry the CE mark to indicate that they confirm to the latest legislation requirements. So lets go through various parties obligations:

The Manufacturer - defined as a person or legal entity that manufactures a toy or designs a toy and has it manufactured on their behalf and markets it under their brand or trademark.

1. Ensure that toys comply with all essential safety requirements which include those laid down by other EU directives.
2. Perform safety assessments to identify hazards that a toy may present, and keep records of such hazard perception tests.
3. Produce and keep the appropriate technical documentation and chemical analysis for a period of 10 years.
4. Draw up an EC declaration of conformity and keep for 10 years.
5. Ensure production control measures are sufficient.
6. Test samples and keep test certification in a generally available format.

An Importer - defined as a person or legal entity established within the EU who places a toy on the EU market.

1. Places only compliant toys on the market.
2. Check that the manufacturer has used the appropriate production control.
3. Examine the manufacturers technical documentation and markings on the product/packaging and ensure that it meets all the guidelines.

A Distributor - defined as a person or legal entity in the supply chain other than the manufacturer or importer who makes a toy available on the market.

1. Verify CE-marking, EC declaration of conformity, relevent documentation (including testing), instructions are supplied in the relevant language(s), batch number and importers name and address are present as prescribed with the regulations.

Next time I will take a closer look on what some of these obligations actually mean.

Toy Testing - The EU Toy Directive

A lot of talk at the trade shows was about the implementation of the EU Toy Directive in July of last year.

So whats the point of this new directive?
To reduce toy related accidents by identifying hazards in toys, taking into account foreseeable use, bearing in mind children's natural behaviour.

Some history. On the 30th June 2009 the new Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC was published enabling a 2 year period in which the member states of the EU could prepare for the new European legislation to be introduced in 2011. By, for example. bringing trading standards up to speed with the new rules, providing information and assistance to companies operating in the toy trade, informing the general public of the new legislation.

The directive came into force on 21st July 2011 with the chemical requirement element coming into full force on 21 July 2013. It substantially changed the previous 25 year old directive 88/378/EEC in virtually all safety aspects.

It takes into account new technological developments since the original directive was introduced. It updates and improves health and safety standards set for toys marketed in Europe, with the view to reduce toy related accidents and helping to promote safe healthy play.

What does the directive apply to?

"products designed or intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age"

So products with a double function eg a key ring with a plush animal attached can be considered a toy.

Next post - The EU Directive - New Levels of Responsibility.

Plan Toys Change Their Range

One of the big surprises for me at the Nuremberg Toy fair was the Plan Toy stand with a lot of their existing products changing as they have started to use a new green manufacturing technique, which looks like compressed wood chippings moulded into shape. This has however fundamentally changed the look and feel of some of their classic designs.

The new version of the Dancing Alligator:
The old version:

But what the pictures don't show is somehow the old version just feels nicer, you can feel the lovely quality of the rubbewood and it looks and plays like a real wooden toy. The new version is more like a moulded plastic toy and the colour seems more muted. I'm not convinced that such a change was necessary as rubberwood is a very sustainable material anyway. Maybe the new styled products will grow on me, but just in case I'm off to buy the classic versions while my local toy shop still has them.

As I find out more about the process used I will report back.

So I'm back from all the toy shows and first day back at work. So were the shows any good? Well my favourite this year was the London Toy fair. A really nice atmosphere and more importantly some new exciting toy companies. I would go as far to say that for the first time in many years there seems to be a few brand new companies that are offering the toy trade something genuinely different.