European Toy Safety Directive
In 2011 when the Toy Safety Directive came into force it meant that all products, whether mass produced or handmade had to by law to have been tested in accordance with the Toy Safety Directive.
By definition a product that comes into scope is a toy or looks like a toy and has play value by children under the age of 14. All toys are required to be tested in accordance with the laid down procedures and display a CE logo on the label or packaging. This CE Mark is now used for selling in Europe. In the UK this mark will, by then end of 2021, be completely replaced with the UKCA logo. The testing for BOTH marks are the same. You paperwork will have a different declaration of conformity. If you sell to both the UK and Europe you can use both logos. If you are not planning on selling outside the UK then you only need the UKCA mark.
This is a legal requirement and if you sell toys in the UK and/or the EU that have not been tested you can be fined £5000 or even receive a prison sentence.
If You Make To Sell, Test It As Well
If you are starting the UKCA handmade journey don’t despair there are others in the same boat. At first it appears a daunting task but it is worth it. With help and guidance it can be achieved. It is so rewarding when you can legally sell your toys and be proud to use the UKCA mark.
There is a wealth of information and the obvious starting point is to read the EN71 Toy Safety Regulations to give a basis of the requirements that you are going to apply to your product. EN71 is split into 14 parts but only EN71-1 (Torque and Tension Tests), EN71-2 (Flammability Test) and EN71-3 (Chemical Migration) are relevant to soft toys. As the manufacturer of your product you can self certify by completing the tests for EN71-1 and EN71-2 yourself; however, EN71-3 has to be completed by an approved testing laboratory. But don’t worry about EN71-3; with a bit of research some manufacturers will give you the certificates. The majority of our products at Tactile Craft Supplies, have been tested to EN71-3:2019 standard as a minimum while some have EN71-2 and items like the teethers have also been tested for EN71-1. Please do check the product listing and the listing with the Decloration of Conformity on to see exactly what has been tested. All our testing is undertaken by MTS who make sure all our products are tested in accordance with the EN71 standards. Please do have a read of Declaration of Conformity blog post.
Before you can sell your wonderful and lovingly made toy you need to complete a series of tests to conform with the Toy Safety Directive EN71-1 and EN71-2. These results are then documented in your product technical file. Only then can you issue the Declaration of Conformity and place the UKCA logo on your product. Conformance are one of the leading company’s dealing with UKCA marking and testing across different products. They produce self-certification packs that simplify the EN71 process and once purchased they are available to offer guidance and advice. The one you will need is Self-Certification for Handmade Toys. You only need to purchase these documents once as they are a series of templates to complete all the paperwork as well as all the physical testing information you need. Save the blank documents to reuse for each toy you make.
With regards to EN71-3 the testing is rather expensive; however, help is at hand as there are UKCA Support Groups on Facebook that you can join and they can be an invaluable source of information, advice and support. They also help with certificates to assist in completing your technical files.
The 'CE & UKCA Marked Soft Toy Support Network' is a Facebook group run by friendly volunteers with a wealth of testing experience. Please do answer the group joining questions to be accepted. As well as help and advice they have lists of free and paid for certificates that you can buy - some through them and some that individuals have tested. They even have a list of the companies that provide certificates for free.
The UKCA & CE Marking Handmade Toys Collective is also a Facebook group as well as having their own website. They too have certificates available to buy and the website has useful blogs. This is a consultation Agency and there are membership fees.
Both of these groups will help you get your toys tested and ready to market.
Updated 19th January 2023