Revision of the Toy Safety Directive

Toys are an integral part of a child’s life, from infancy up to early teenage years. Therefore, it is imperative that toys available on the EU market safeguard the health and safety of children especially with respect to hazardous chemicals.

To this end, the European Union in 2009 adopted the Toy Safety Directive. The Directive lays down the health and safety requirements that toys for children under 14 years of age must meet before they can be placed on the market in the EU. Whether toys are manufactured in the EU or in third countries, they must always comply with these requirements. Consequently, this ensures the free movement of toys within the EU Single Market, as toys that fulfil the requirements, regardless of their origin, can move freely within the internal market.

To ensure the highest level of health and safety, this Directive places different requirements and responsibilities to the various actors along the toy supply chain, meaning manufacturers, importers, and distributors of toys, as well as national authorities to carry out market surveillance.

As any industry, the toy industry is an ever evolving one, and despite numerous amendments to increase the effectiveness of the Toy Safety Directive since 2009, numerous shortcomings are still present. These shortcomings were highlighted in the latest Evaluation of the Toy Safety Directive and the Fitness Check of the most relevant chemicals legislations, which revealed several shortcomings and areas for further improvement especially where chemicals are concerned.

To address these shortcomings, the European Commission has launched a public consultation to gather information and views from relevant stakeholders such as toy manufactures and national market surveillance authorities of how the Toy Safety Directive can better protect children. In addition, the Commission also seeks to collect information on how to improve the current Directive through different measures.

The following are some of the measures that the European Commission is proposing:

  • The setting of chemical limit values for any toys and not only for those intended for children under 36 months;
  • Setting out requirements for the labelling of chemical composition of toys, including via digital labelling;
  • Converting the Directive into a Regulation, to ensure the timely and simultaneous application of the toy safety rules in all Member States; and
  • Improving reporting obligations by Member States on unsafe toys and the application of the toy safety rules, and identifying indicators and the related data needs for future monitoring and evaluation.

The Revision of the Directive contributes to the EU Green Deal and the EU’s chemicals strategy for sustainability that aims to better protect the public and the environment against the most hazardous chemicals. At the same time, it aims to strengthen the Single Market for toys.

Manufacturers, importers and distributors of toys, consumer and industry associations, NGOs, national authorities, and citizens are invited to partake in this online consultation and provide their input by May 25, 2022.