Let’s play with the European UnionPosted: March 10, 2011
The European Union is getting involved in the citizens business, everybody knows that. The supposed technocrats in Brussels are going so far as to shuffle into the products meant for the fun of kids younger than 14. In other words, Toys.
Teddy bears, Rubik’s Cubes, Playmobil® and other colorful modeling clay don’t escape the scrutiny of the European Commission, which, in the European directive 2009/48/EC defines “toys” as :
Products designed or intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age.
This definition is vague and general, and that is a very good point. Better than listing everything that is a toy, the directive include everything that could be considered as such and will exclude certain categories already covered by other regulations (for example, public playground is subject to the directives EN 1176, EN 1177, EN 1069 and EN 14960).
Toys that are conform to the EU safety rules are marked by the CE logo (which itself is already standardized). The norms are covering every possible aspect of toy safety: solidity, absence of sharp elements, no risk of asphyxia, no allergens, no chemicals or carcinogens, flammability, electric system safety and radioactivity.
As an example, the plastic shells containing the little plastic thingies in the Kinder Surprise® did evolved from a simple two-part shell to a more sophisticated one bloc shell, to be conform to the European Norms.
Aware of the globalization of the markets, the 2009/48/EC directive is not only translated in the 23 langauges of the EU, but also in Chinese (as 86% of toys imported in the EU come from China).
All you ever wanted to know about Toys in the European Uion can be found on the Toys page of the Commission website.