A summit of ten leading UK toy industry figures discussed current UK toy safety regulations and created a six point action plan designed to further strengthen current safety controls, improve relations with China and educate consumers in making safe and appropriate purchasing decisions.
The six point plan is:
1. Encourage the EU’s cooperation with China on product safety and support the recent actions of the Chinese government against some manufacturers
2. Advise the industry to revisit and potentially widen the education programme to Chinese vendors.
3. Encourage the EU to strengthen surveillance and enforcement of toy safety laws across all 27 member countries.
4. Advise the UK toy industry to strengthen further:
- the design management and control of raw materials, suppliers and manufacturing
- controls and random factory visits throughout the production process
- control of finished products/batches of products
5. Support the efforts of retailers to help consumers make a purchasing decision and assist them to buy age-appropriate toys.
6. Urge increased activity on the part of the BTHA to educate parents on toy safety. Through www.btha.co.uk/parents_page, a one-stop information point for parents, the BTHA will encourage consumer vigilance through guidance.
Director general, David Hawtin, told ToyNews: "I think the cases that have come up have reinforced the need on both sides to get the quality control problems sorted quite quickly.
"A large part of its is to send a calming message to parents. I think we have done pretty well in the circumstances. We can't deny that to have three recalls of this size is unprecedented, but the number of recalls in the UK is small.
"These initiatives are intended to strengthen still further the industry’s commitment to the safety of children. We should remember that toys are one of the most regulated product sectors within the UK.
“As a product sector, toys are safe: the numbers prove that. More than 243.3 million toys were sold in 2006. Our actions today are designed to ensure that safety is at the heart of every process of toy design and production. Further, it’s the stringent self-regulatory checking procedures that the toy industry implements that provide consumers with an additional safety net. Recalls are a part of this process and, although rare, should not be seen as a bad thing."