Catherine Van Reeth, director general of Toy Industries of Europe (TIE), the trade association for the European toy industry, commented: "While the old Directive 88/378/EEC on the safety of toys worked well, the updated Toy Safety Directive ensures that safety requirements and standards can keep up with the latest trends and developments in today’s toys.
"This is especially important for an innovative industry which places children’s safety as its number one priority."
The new directive includes stricter requirements for parts that could choke children, toys attached to food, washing textile toys and potentially dangerous chemicals in toys.
Firms will now have to increase the visibility and clarity of warnings on toys and new requirements for sounds emitted by toys are also being developed.
The new legislation may mean adaptations in manufacturing processes and new procedures along the supply chain. The new rules may also necessitate additional procedures as manufacturers now need to comply with more detailed safety assessments.
The new directive also places the focus of responsibility on a wider number of ares and introduces more clearly defined roles and obligations for all players in the toy sector. For example, own brand importers are considered as manufacturers and are subject to the obligations of a manufacturer.
TIE also welcomes the directive’s encouragement of member states to ensure that there are sufficient border controls and market surveillance on toys from rogue traders and those not complying with the safety standards.
Van Reeth explained: "As a European industry where some 80 per cent of the operators are SMEs, it is worth noting that the new requirements bring a substantial economic and technical challenge for toy manufacturers, in particular for small businesses. Nevertheless, toy manufacturers take their responsibilities seriously and have gone to great lengths to ensure compliance with the new Directive.
"We need to ensure that products from less reputable manufacturers who do not comply with the new rules are removed from the market or prevented from reaching the market in the first place."
She concludes: "It is also essential that the directive is consistently implemented throughout the EU if the desired outcome of the legislation is to be achieved."