Most commonly detected defects in toys

Small parts in toys intended for children under the age of 3

Toys intended for children under the age of 3 must not contain small parts and small parts must not detach from them.

Toys intended for young children must be particularly durable because they must be able to withstand treatment such as throwing and biting without breaking.

If a toy intended for children under the age of 3 includes small components or if small parts detach from it, the toy does not meet the requirements set in Section 23 of the Toy Safety Act.

The concentration of phthalates exceeds the permitted limit

Phthalates are chemical compounds that are used as plasticisers, particularly in PVC plastics. Some phthalates are classified as reprotoxic substances.

The use of phthalates in toys and child care articles has been restricted as follows:

  • The maximum allowed DEHP, DBP and BBP concentration is 0.1% by mass of the plasticised material.
  • The use of the phthalates DINP, DIDP, and DNOP is restricted in toys and child care articles that can be inserted into the mouth and the concentration limit is 0.1% by mass of the plasticised material.

In practice, the maximum concentration of 0.1% means that these phthalates cannot be used in product manufacture. In order to function as a plasticiser in PVC plastics, the phthalate’s concentration usually needs to be 20–40% of the mass of the plasticised material.

Phthalate restrictions are laid down in Annex XVII, Sections 51 and 52 of the REACH regulation. Toys that contain the above-mentioned phthalates do not meet the requirements set for chemical properties in the Toy Safety Act (Section 25).

Restricted substances, such as lead or cadmium, migrate from the toy’s materials

The use of certain elements is restricted in toys. The elements could migrate to a child’s body from a toy, primarily through the mouth. The developing organ system of a child is particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects caused by chemicals.

The standard SFS-EN 71-3 Safety of toys. Migration of certain elements defines requirements and testing methods for certain harmful substances in toys and their components. The standard contains requirements for the migration of certain elements from the following categories of toy materials:

  • Dry, brittle, powder like or pliable materials;
  • Liquid or sticky materials;
  • Scraped-off materials.

Toys that contain these elements above the permitted limits do not meet the requirements set for chemical properties in the Toy Safety Act (Section 25).

Microbiological quality

There are currently no standards providing detailed requirements concerning the microbiological quality of liquids contained in toys, but they are being prepared.

However, according to Section 27 of the Toy Safety Act, toys must be clean and hygienic enough not to pose a risk of disease.

Cords and drawstrings on fancy dresses

The standard SFS-EN 14682 sets requirements on all cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing. Fancy dresses and role-playing costumes, which are classified as toy, must also meet the requirements put forward in the standard. The standard aims to prevent choking and other hazards in situations, in which a cord or drawstring gets caught in a climbing frame or a ski lift, between the doors of a bus or a lift, or in an escalator, for example.

According to the standard, for instance, there must not be any cords or drawstrings in the hood or the head and neck area in clothing intended for children who are seven years old or younger, or 134 cm tall or shorter.

Things to note:

  • Manufacturers, importers and sellers are responsible for ensuring the safety of their products and that the products do not pose a hazard to users.
  • Consumers who have purchased clothing with cords or drawstrings in the hood or the neck area for small children can remove the cords or drawstrings themselves.
  • Parents who make clothing for their children should pay special attention to this issue and avoid the use of cords and drawstrings, especially in the hoods and the head and neck area of clothing intended for small children. There also must not be any hanging strings in the hem below the waist because they may get caught in moving vehicles, particularly with older children.
  • Reference to the standard SFS-EN 14682 has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Further information on the position of standards in demonstrating compliance is available on the Standards page. The standard SFS-EN 14682 is also clarified by the technical report CEN/TR 16446.