What is it called?

The Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC (the “TSD”)  governs the placing on the market of toys, which are defined as products “designed or intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age”.

What is it about?

The TSD sets out requirements for toys, following the New Legislative Framework (see our Bitesize here) in order to ensure toys comply with all relevant requirements and are safe.

Requirements include that professionals involved in the design, manufacture and supply of toys:

  • Ensure that products are designed to be safe and conform with particular safety requirements (there is a rebuttable presumption of safety where the product meets harmonised standards);
  • Carry out conformity assessment and affix the CE mark to their product;
  • Ensure that products comply with the labelling requirements set out in the TSD;
  • Ensure that toys do not contain harmful chemicals;
  • Ensure that products are accompanied by instructions and safety information;
  • Take appropriate corrective action where they become aware that a toy may not be in conformity with the TSD.
  • Notify authorities if they become aware that the product they have placed on the market is unsafe.

All EEA Member States and the UK have adopted the provisions of the TSD into national law, so requirements are largely harmonized across Europe, though there can be some local variations. There has not yet been significant divergence in the Great Britain market, following Brexit.

Who and what does it apply to?

The TSD applies to manufacturers, authorised representatives, importers and distributors of toys. It requires toys to be designed and manufactured to comply with specified requirements, including safety requirements.

The requirements apply to toys, which are defined broadly as products: “designed or intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age”. There are certain limited exclusions to the definition of toys (for example, playground equipment intended for public use, toy steam engines, slings and catapults).

Why does it matter?

The TSD is a key piece of EU legislation for toys, intended to keep children safe. For this reason, toys are traditionally an area of active enforcement. It is therefore important for businesses in the supply chain for toys to understand and comply with their obligations under the TSD.

Are there any upcoming changes?

The TSD is currently under review by the European Commission. The public consultation closed in May 2022, with a Commission proposal expected to be adopted in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Separately, the UK government has reported that it intends to update technical specifications for several harmful chemicals, reducing permitted levels or entirely prohibiting their use. These changes will bring the UK position in line with changes that have taken place in the EU.

Where can I find it?

You can find the TSD here and a list of harmonized standards here.

For more information on the revision of the TSD see here, and for the UK government’s announcement on upcoming changes see here.

Is there any guidance?

A range of guidance documents on the TSD can be found here.

Posted by Carol Holley