Handmade Toys – CE Marking

I love reading other peoples blogs.
Why? Well you get a chance to see what other businesses blog about.
You learn something new, and reading and commenting on other blogs helps you to develop new readers on your blog.

I have recently read a few interesting pieces that the writers of have kindly agreed that I can use. 

Erica, from Odds & Soxlets has kindly let me repost her piece about handmade toys CE marking for safety. It’s such important information and many mummies at home making toys and selling them on via Facebook and fairs just don’t realise that they must be CE marked and tested. Don’t forget to leave Erica a comment or give us some feedback about how easy/hard you found the CE process.

Thank you

The law regarding children’s toys and CE marking changed back in July 2011 and the new Toy Safety Directive 2011 came into force. This meant that all products designed or intended (whether or not exclusively) for use in play by children under the age of 14 are required by law to have a CE logo.

This includes handmade products that also look like toys even if you have specified they are are for decorative purposes and not suitable for those under the age of 14 years. The only exception to this is Christmas/novelty products which you can find out more about from Trading Standards.

I have put together a variety of information and links together regarding this subject for any fellow artisans who make knitted / crocheted / felt or other fabric style toys (including sock toys) on how to obtain a CE logo for there products.

Firstly you need to research the New Safety Directive 2011 and find out how this affects you and what handmade products you produce, Business Link and BSI are a very useful resource for finding out the basics.

The most obtainable way for handmade toys to gain CE marking is to self certify your products. This is the least expensive way and I would recommend a company called Conformance, they currently do two packs which I believe to be very useful and ensures you are following the correct route to self certification.

They have recently added a pack ‘CE marking for knitted toys’  which is specifically designed to help home toy-makers to meet the legal requirements of the Toy Safety Directive. It gives you all the information you will need to be able to test your toys and gives details on the documents you need to produce and keep. Even thought the pack is designed for those making knitted toys, it can also be used for simple felt or fabric toys too! You can also download the CE logo from them to add to your products.

There is a great deal of paperwork involved in self certification as each and every component of your product plus the final product itself needs to comply with the EN71 European Standard for Safety of Toys. Depending upon your product you may wish to use a 3rd party company to test either components or the full product and then each and every toy will require a Technical File and Declaration of Conformity to show that your toys reaches the appropriate standards and is safe for children.

You will then be able to add the CE logo to either a sewn in label on your handmade product or a tag style label around your product which ever if more suitable. The design and information of this label is also very important. This will cover any products you offer for sale in the UK and Europe ONLY! If you want to sell your products worldwide then you must check out the laws on toys for those countries too!

You will have to ensure that all of the fabrics/stuffing etc you use to make your toys have either already been tested to meet the EN71 or you will be required to get them tested yourself. If you contact the manufacturer of your products they will be able to tell you this information. With socks in particular as they are a clothing garment they are not required by law to have been tested to these guidelines so you will have to either test the socks yourself or look at getting a 3rd party testing facility to do this for you like Conformance. There are many companies out there which offer advice and services in regards to CE Marking so it is best to do your own research and choose a company that can offer you the best for your money.

Some other links which may also be useful:

Trading Standards

CE-Marking.org

BSI Group

Please note: This blog post is intended to help other artisans find out further information regarding CE Marking in regards to there own products and ‘Odds & Soxlets’ takes no legal responsibility for the content.

For more information on running a craft based business check out Joanne’s book – Crafting a Successful Small Business: Making, marketing and merchandising

24 Comments

  1. April 17, 2012 / 10:32 am

    Hi Joanne,

    It’s really good to see people are starting to take the seriousness of this on board now, there’s very hefty fines and even potential imprisonment if you don’t follow the correct process and a child is harmed by one of your products, the law holds no excuses for unawareness, it’s a businesses responsibility to ensure they have every area covered of what they do before they start marketing their products. By making toys you are essentially saying you are a manufacturer and hence you have all the responsibilities that go with that! One of the things I’ve come across most is people saying they are ok if they put a label in saying, ‘not a toy’ etc…simply not true, if something appears to be a toy, it is, you can’t just make a statement and change the law!lol Unfortunately, not a lot of people have been willing to listen when I’ve mentioned this, even though I am going through this process myself and will be self certifying too! They insist they are right and continue to keep doing what they are doing! It’s a shame really as the self cert route is not that hard or as complicated as people may think, you can do it all at home and keep paper work to a minimum and once you’ve done it once then doing it for more products is just mostly duplication work. You can even do fire safety testing yourself if you know how to do it. I’d love to see more people doing so as there are an awful lot of very well made and beautiful products out there which could do so well with the CE mark attached. I’d say get in touch with trading standards as they are excellent and not to bother paying £100s to a company for any packs as such as they’ll only tell you what trading standards can too, mine have been excellent and have even offered to test the products for me for free, they can’t issue a certificate for me but they can advise they are ok and I can then document this myself. I’ll be writing up the process myself once I’ve done it and maybe selling it for a very small fee such as £10-£20 etc and I’m also going to be including examples of the self certification and technical files you need to develop so people don’t have to literally start from scratch. I know i’d have found this easier if i’d have had that available. Also, The Toy Makers Guild are a good place to ask for advice too!

    Maria 🙂

  2. April 17, 2012 / 1:23 pm

    Great additional advice, I have seen so many soft toy makers in particular which are stating there products are for decorative use only and are not a toy, yet there customers are buying them for their children? Unfortunately it depends on your local trading standards to how much help they are willing to give you hence the advice I gave about a 3rd party company. I did all my own testing and self certification and only paid £20.00 to ensure all my paperwork for my Technical Files and DOC’s were correct for all my products. I think many artisans would be very grateful for this information from a fellow toy maker and I’m sure they would be very willing to pay you this kind of fee Maria as starting from scratch is time consuming and I would have certainly found this easier too if such information had been available!
    Erica 🙂

  3. April 17, 2012 / 1:48 pm

    Hi Erica

    Thank you! Yes, I’ve been very lucky with my Trading Standards and also another toy maker based in Wales, Kates soft Toys, has been a huge support! I know some people aren’t as lucky with thier ts officers 🙁 To be honest I think mine only offered to test so he could make sure he himself had given the right advice!lol but i’ll not complain 😉

    Yes, it is hard work getting to the point where you actually feel confident to go ahead and self cert, I think I’ve probably spend near enough 100 hours researching and putting files together so i’d have happily given someone £20 for that!lol

    Thanks

    Maria 🙂

  4. Pauline
    July 1, 2012 / 3:59 pm

    Hello Joanne – some very helpful information. I am now looking to return to crafting after several years, retirement and extra time to devote to a lovely hobby. I am wondering if Maria who had commented above has now produced her ‘self help’ guide to the process of dealing with the legalities – sounds a marvellous idea, I would be more than willing to pay for something like this produced by someone who has gone through the procedure – I am sure there would be more like me who would welcome the help. Would love to hear from Maria.
    Pauline

  5. Sarah
    November 20, 2012 / 2:17 pm

    The trouble is that I want to sell cute little animal felties or plushies that certainly are not toys suitable for children as their structure is no where near sound enough – the kind of thing that would sit on a desk or hang over a wardrobe. There is no way I can get them to comply with safety tests just because a 5 year old would find it pretty (and they would). They are hand made – and not falling apart by any means in fact my work is very nicely done (if I say so myself) but they are not even machine stitched. That is the whole point, their hand-stitched, hand-craftedness!

    I am quite happy to put not suitable for under 14 on it as they are probably not. I despair of a law that allows patterns for such things but then says they mustn’t be sold. What about the receivers of actual toys made from actual toy patterns? Apparently the safety aspect is of no concern there to children and parents are at liberty to make whatever they like for their own children and others if they give them away but not if they sell them. Crazy.

    It’s the phrase about even if something looks like it could appeal to a child that gets me. I mean what doesn’t? Talk about numbing creativity. I’ve started to put together little novelty animals and would like to sell them to adults. I would also like to sell patterns. It seems I can sell pattens but not the original item without possibly getting into a whole lot of trouble.

    The thing is though, having done a search on Folksy, I am seeing fabric animals, some called keepsakes or ornaments but others actually called toys. There is no mention of safety checks having been made. Shouldn’t folksy know about the law? The irony is that these toys were originally called crib toys as they have no removable parts and were considered the safest toys for the smallest babies, yet now they are to be thought of as lethal weapons.

    The law is a complete ass. No wonder no one can do anything entrepreneurial in this country. I don’t want to sell to children yet I am still clobbered by it. It is what I want to make, what I enjoy doing and what I am good at. There is a market for it too.

    No toys are safe, no household items are safe, people have accidents and end up in A&E over accidents involving tissues and plastic bags yet they are facts of everyday life.

    Toy laws should be there to protect against unsafe materials – like flammable stuffing, toxic paint etc. As long as we buy reputably our products will not contain anything like that as they are illegal anyway. The law shouldn’t be there to clobber people like me who don’t even want to make toys!

    It makes a mockery of all the craft books out there selling whimsical stuff – toadstools, hanging animals etc. Why encourage one side and kill of the other. It makes no sense. A felt toadstool will pass no tests for toy making yet be appealing to a child – as will a toadstool pin cushion. It’s just crazy that people won’t be able to sell these things. The law is ridiculous.

    As for the self certification route, that is laughable as just being the cheaper (while still expensive option). The idea of amateur testers putting labels on stuff is worse than them not being tested at all as at least you have no false security. I think that sounds very dangerous and a route I would not dream of going down. Imagine the liability if a child had an accident with a self certified toy. The mind boggles.

    • Julia Atterby
      January 19, 2016 / 9:37 pm

      I would love to find out this answer to this too

      • January 20, 2016 / 7:42 am

        Unfortunately when the new laws about toy safety were brought in back in July 2011 they did not take into consideration the handmade industry and now the same laws apply to toys made no matter how they are made. There are some exceptions to this where soft stuffed decorations (especially hanging ones) made for adults where they would not need to comply to these regulations however you would need to get guidance specifically from trading standards in regards to your product would be needed to insure they are excempt.
        Self certification is a completely legal way to obtain the CE Mark. We use an experienced CE testing conpany Conformamces self certification pack and along with advise and assistance testing for part 3 of the regs (chemical migration) from two UK testing houses which had helps hundreds of toys makers to legally test their toys and CE Mark there toys to sell in the EU knowing that they fully comply with the toy safety regulations, so this option is completely viable and legal! We have a new support page on Facebook to help those who need help and guidance achieving this please search for CE Marking Support Network for extra information alongside to support groups with lots of additional information and access to compliant fabrics, accessories and so forth.
        Erica Martyn recently posted..Handmade Toy Noise Inserts – How they sound!My Profile

  6. February 14, 2013 / 1:44 pm

    Hi Joanne,

    What a lovely blog post. I have also blogged about my experiences of CE marking my handmade dolls over on my blog. http://www.littlesugarplums.blogspot.com. I don’t think it’s as informative as yours but tells of my expereiences and I’ve also included a few photos of the process 🙂

    Glad I found your lovely blog. I’m off to read more 🙂

    • February 14, 2013 / 6:16 pm

      thanks lovely your dolls are BEAUTIFUL!

  7. Helen
    March 31, 2014 / 12:08 am

    Very pleased to have stumbled across this post and its comments in my quest for understandable information that doesn’t make me want to stab myself in the eyes, because it turns out Maria and I live in the same town!

  8. Pink
    July 14, 2015 / 9:35 pm

    Hi, if volunteers are making eg teddies and giving them away free do they need CE mark or is it optional
    .
    Many thanks for any advice you can offer

    • July 15, 2015 / 10:03 am

      Hi, if this is something you/the group of volunteers are doing on a regular basis and donating the toys then yes I believe they would need to be tested under the toy safety regulations and CE marked. I would recommend contacting your local trading standards for full clarification on this and explain to them the type of toys you are producing, who they are being donated too and numbers involved so that you can find out where you legally stand. If you need any further advice regarding how to self certify your toys for the CE mark you can read my updated blog post here on my website with links to the support groups we now run: http://oddsandsoxlets.co.uk/handmade-toys-ce-marking/
      Best Regards
      Erica

  9. July 29, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    Hi there,

    I’m just looking into the feasibility of starting a business making keepsake teddies out of old baby clothes and baby gros…I’m happy to go the self-certified route for CE testing, but worried about how to get information on material which is second hand and which I’m not buying…

    Does anyone know what to do here??

    Thanks

    • July 31, 2015 / 6:25 am

      Hi Abi, anything made from pre-worn or used fabrics unfortunately can not be CE marked and made as a child’s toy as the toy safety regulations state they must be made from new fabrics. These kind of makes are then usually made in lines with collectors keepsake items for parents to give there children once over the age of 14 years, or to be sat on a shelf in a child’s room out of reach. Best Wishes with your business venture, Erica.

    • July 31, 2015 / 7:38 am

      Thank you Erica! I was going to say the same that all my research made clear that using baby clothes they must be stated as being a keepsake and not a toy. Good
      Luck though as this kind of keepsake us realky popular snd I’m sure you will do well x

  10. August 23, 2016 / 12:04 am

    Hi Joanne,

    Have been digging around for some information on this for the last couple of hours and finally found what I was looking for!

    A well written post!

    Thanks
    Selina recently posted..10 Best Car Seats for Kids in 2016My Profile

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