The Toy Association™ Provides Input on European Union Toy Safety Regulation Reform

January 9, 2024 | The Toy Association™ submitted comments on January 2 to the European Commission regarding the proposed draft to revise the European Union’s (EU) toy safety regulations with a new Toy Safety Regulation (TSR) and to repeal and replace the current Toy Safety Directive (TSD), which covers all toys and games that are sold and marketed in the EU.

The draft TSR intends to fix weaknesses in the practical application of the TSD since its adoption in 2009, according to a 2020 evaluation of the TSD. The proposed draft aims to achieve two primary goals: to enhance child protection by minimizing exposure to harmful substances and to decrease the presence of non-compliant and unsafe toys in the EU marketplace.

“The Toy Association welcomes the Commission’s proposal to update its Toy Safety Directive to the Toy Safety Regulation,” Jos Huxley, senior vice president of technical affairs at The Toy Association, wrote in the comments. “We consider this to be a real opportunity to identify new and effective approaches to strengthen toy safety, especially when it comes to counterfeit toys being sold online. At the same time, there are several provisions within the EU proposal that require further consideration and clarification. Without further amendment, some of the provisions will undermine the Commission’s working objective to enhance toy safety, and in some cases could present a potential barrier to trade.”

In addition to providing detailed feedback on the proposal, the Association strongly recommends the following considerations are incorporated into the final version of the TSR:

  1. Expanding market surveillance to combat the rising issues of counterfeit and non-compliant toy sales online, which pose a threat to toy safety. There is concern that the proposed Digital Product Passport — which would be required for each toy and provide information on its compliance — may impose additional administrative burdens on responsible companies without effectively addressing the sourcing and availability of non-compliant products.
  2. Revising certain testing controls in the proposed TSR by incorporating leading science and current best practices to improve risk mitigation. Concerns are raised about provisions that lack a scientific basis or fail to contribute to enhancing toy safety.
  3. Allowing for a more realistic implementation timeline, as well as advocating for the inclusion of a "grandfathering" provision for safe products already at retail. There are concerns about unrealistic deadlines and unnecessary wastage, and that the potential disruption to the supply chain of safe products may create opportunities for suppliers of counterfeit and non-compliant products to instead meet consumer demand.

The Toy Association will continue to keep its members apprised of developments on this issue. Any questions may be directed to The Toy Association’s Jos Huxley.