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MAKING TOYS FOR CHARITY

This leaflet has been prepared for the guidance of traders by the Northern Counties Chief Trading Standards Officers Group. It is not an authoritative document on the law and is only intended for guidance. 

 

THE REGULATIONS

The Toys (Safety) Regulations 1995 apply . Toys are defined as - any product or material designed to be used in play by children less than 14 years of age, but do not include for example, Christmas decorations, scale models for adult collectors, folk dolls and decorative dolls for adults

Children’s toys must be ‘safe’ in use such that users are protected against health hazards and risk of physical injury.

All toys will need to be labelled with the "CE" mark, denoting compliance with the Regulations and the name and address of the manufacture

It is recognised that most toys made for charities are of the soft, "cuddly toy" type. These are usually intended for very young children so great care must be taken in their construction to avoid a child being injured by a toy.

 

WHAT ARE THE MAIN THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN "CUDDLY TOYS"?

Facial features (eyes and nose) should be firmly attached so as to withstand a pull of 20 lbs if made of hard material. The proprietary "safety eyes" should be used.

Small attachments such as hats, buttons etc should also be firmly attached so as not to pose a choking hazard. Toys must not cause a dangerous flammable element in a child’s environment. They should be made of materials which do not burn easily. If they do ignite they should go out as soon as the fire source disappears, or they should burn slowly. It is accepted that all materials will burn, but some are more highly flammable than others. Test your materials by lighting very small pieces with a match. Some (e.g. polyester fibre fillings) will melt and be difficult to ignite, whereas others will burn freely.

Surface flash. Certain pile finish materials are subject to surface flash. This means that if they are exposed to a flame, the body of the material will not burn, but a flame will dance across the surface and in certain circumstances could set fire to a child’s hair. If "surface flash" occurs it means that the material is not suitable for use in toys.

Toys should not cause a hazard to health or injury due to their chemical composition. Small children frequently suck toys and therefore non toxic materials should be used.

Wooden Toys Charity workers often make wooden toys which are very popular with young children. Care should be taken in their construction and finish so that they have no sharp points or edges which could cause injury. Painted toys must be painted with non-toxic paints.

Toys with folding mechanisms can cause a trapping hazard (e.g. a child’s ironing board or a blackboard) and should be designed so that there is a 12 mm gap between the folding parts so as not to trap a child’s fingers.

 

LABELLING

Certain toys should bear warning labels, in particular toys not intended for a child under 36 months or 3 years should be labelled as such. Functional toys should be marked "WARNING TO BE USED UNDER THE DIRECT SUPERVISION OF AN ADULT"

 

WHAT DOES THE "CE" MARK MEAN?

This is a statement that you have made the toy in accordance with the standard. If you are not sure, ask for advice from someone at the charity for which you work, or contact the Trading Standards Service.

 

October 2000


North Yorkshire County Council

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