As a Buyer, you should ensure that any item intended for children holds a CE mark, as this confirms that a toy is safe for your children to use.
As a Seller, there are many rigorous tests that your toy needs to go through before it can legally be sold. Failure to do this comes with a £5000 fine and even 6 months in jail! So please ensure it is done.
Quick Glance at CE Testing
Toys needs to be CE Tested but also any items that could be considered to have 'play value' (in other words it appeals to children). Let’s start by seeing what the government have to say about CE Testing here as you can see there is a lot of information that needs to be considered when you think about selling toys.
Where Do I Buy the Home Testing Kit?
Once you’ve decided that you need to test your toys, let’s start with taking a DEEP BREATH! And then grab a self-certifying pack, which can be PURCHASED FROM THE CONFORMANCE SHOP HERE. Once you’ve purchased it, I strongly suggest you print it all out and read it thoroughly, taking notes along the way, but again DON’T PANIC, it’s not THAT scary. I promise!.
There are a few tests which need to be completed but they are mostly really easy.
A Tension Test which makes sure that any item you have joined together is secure and for this you need two G-Clamps, a set of suitcase scales, a heavy duty bag and a LOT of canned food (or alternatively you can buy weights which equal the 7.2kg needed)
A Rod Test which requires a rod that is 12mm circumference.
A Drop/Impact Test that you only need to do if you have a material that is hard and does not carry a CE Mark.
A Small Component Test. This one is a little more tricky but not much, you just have to make sure that no part of your toy fits into a cylinder (which comes with your conformance pack). If an aspect of your toy falls off during any of the aforementioned tests then you have to make sure they won’t fit in the tube either.
A Flammability Test. This is the test that most people are terrified of. Please don’t be, it’s not as scary as it looks. If you can get a certificate from your materials supplier (fabric, wool, stuffing etc) stating their item passed an EN71-2 test then you do not need to carry out this test. The useful website CE Marking Handmade Toys has a list of suppliers and manufacturers who supply free flammability certificates of their products. If your materials have not previously been tested, then grab a friend and start testing.
Mostly make sure that you complete the file fully and completely and that you have insurance in place. Then let your mind loose and create your hearts desire.
To demystify the CE Testing process, our Craftie lovely Jenny (from Craftie Miller) has created a video of the whole process:
You can obtain advice and access to materials certificates from the SOFT TOY SUPPORT NETWORK group on Facebook.
We also have knowledgable Crafties who can help advise: Jenny Miller, Sonia Green, Kitty Paddy, Sue Wilson, Julia Atterby, Becky DeWet and Jayne Schembri.
All the components of a craft kit will need to be safe according to the Toy Safety Directive and associated standard EN71. In some cases the final end product will also have to meet specific requirements. Conformance have developed a CRAFT KIT HOME TESTING PACK specifically for craft kits which gives details of how to meet these requirements, along with templates for the required documents that you must produce and keep.
Contributor - Jenny Miller, from Crafty Miller