All toys, including handmade toys, need to be CE marked, including those sold for or donated to charity. If you make toys at home on a small scale (for example to make some extra money from your hobby, or whilst looking after children), you will still need to CE mark your toys, but don’t be put off – you should be able to complete most of the requirements yourself with little or no expense. You don't need to notify or register with anyone, the process is entirely self-regulating.
To be able to CE mark your toy, you must ensure that it meets the essential safety requirements laid out in the Toy Safety Directive. These are the most basic legal requirements that your toy must meet. However, as the Directive encompasses all toys, the requirements given are not very specific. This is where the standards come in, as they explain in detail the exact testing requirements for various types of toys. The standard related to the Toy Safety Directive is EN 71 – Safety of Toys. Standards can be bought from the BIS web site, but you may be able to view them free of charge at your local or county library.
Once you are confident that your toy meets the requirements of the standard (i.e. it passes all the tests), you will need to compile evidence of this into a document known as a technical file. The technical file should contain the results of the tests you have carried out, any third party results you may have, details of the toy itself, details of how you will maintain conformity during production (you don’t have to test every toy you make), and a Declaration of Conformity. The Declaration is an official statement made by you as the manufacturer to show that the toy meets the relevant standards and directives, and you may need to show it to your customers. The recommended contents of the technical file and declaration can be found in Annex III and IV of the Directive.
How Conformance can help you
We have produced a range of self-certification packs and editable versions of the required paperwork to help you fulfil your responsibilities and meet all the legal requirements for toys. At present we have a self-certification pack for handmade soft toys, teepees and craft kits. All other handmade toys are covered by a general toy pack.
We understand it can be a complicated and timely process which is why we have designed these products to make the process as straightforward as possible. These are available to purchase through our online shop.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please also see our Knowledgebase under the CE Marking tab for further FAQ (select the 'Toy Safety Directive' category on the left-hand side of the page).
Do I need to register with anyone to CE mark my toy?
No, toys can be entirely self-certified – you don’t need to register or get approval from anyone.
Do I need to talk to Trading Standards?
No, not unless you want to. Trading Standards can be very helpful but some teams are not very experienced with self-certification.
I make one-off toys – do they all need testing individually?
Not necessarily, it will depend on how different they all are. For example, if you make a range of sewn fabric stuffed animals, with different animal shapes and different fabric but basically the same construction method, then no – you’d just need to make sure that any new fabric you used met the requirements. If you made one sewn fabric toy, then one knitted toy, then a sewn toy with jointed limbs, then yes, each of these would need testing.
Do I need to have a technical file for each toy I make? That’s going to be a lot of paper!
You don’t need to keep a physical technical file for every single toy you make, but you do need to be able to compile a complete file for each of your toys if needed. For example, some people find it easier to have all their information on paints in one folder, all the information on fabric in another and all the information on construction methods in another. As long as you have a system in place so that you can identify the correct information for each model of toy you make, you don’t need to copy everything into a complete technical file each time.
I make memory or keepsake toys from customers’ clothing, e.g. wedding dresses or baby grows. How do I meet the chemical migration requirements, and what do I do if I can’t?
These are a bit of a grey area, and the chances are that you’re not going to be able to meet the chemical requirements if you’re not using new material. You might be able to market them as adult collectors’ items instead of toys, and there is some useful guidance on this that may help: http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/5845/attachments/1/translations
However, even if you choose to market your products in this way, you should ensure they meet all the other requirements of the Toy safety Directive.
I can’t get any information from my fabric suppliers regarding the chemical migration requirements - what can I do?
Unfortunately manufacturers have no obligation to supply you with data sheets, certificates or any other information. In this case you would either need to use a more helpful supplier, or have the fabric tested yourself. The CE Self Certification Support Group on Facebook has a very useful list of suppliers that are happy to supply the information, and in some cases copies of the available certificates or data sheets have been uploaded onto the page.
I’ve seen some soft toys that say “not suitable for children under 36 months”, can I use this label on my toys?
To be honest, I don’t know how some companies can use this on their labels. The requirements clearly state that all soft toys must be suitable for children under 36 months, with some very specific exceptions (such as using monofilament fibre for hair). If your toy doesn’t fall into one of these exceptions, then it should be suitable from birth. If you’ve bought the soft toy self-certification pack and your toy passes all the tests, then it will be suitable from birth.
I don’t make soft toys – is there a self-certification pack to help me?
I make dummy clips - do these need to be CE marked?
This depends if it has significant play value. This means if your dummy clip has 'play appeal' to a baby or young child it would need to be CE marked as a toy. This may include been brightly coloured, or decorated with cartoon characters or similar, or ribbons attached with loose ends to be played with. Even if you decide your dummy clip does not need CE marking it must meet the requirements of BSEN 12586.
FAQ on our Self-Certification Pack for Soft Toys
If I’ve bought a self-certification pack for soft toys from Conformance do I need to read the standard myself?
No, as long as your toy falls within the scope of the pack.
I have bought a self-certification pack for soft toys but my toy has some extra features that aren’t covered – what should I do?
In this case, you will probably need to obtain a copy of the standard yourself to check the requirements of your toy.
Do my soft toy accessories need CE marking?
Any accessory that is sold with, or designed to be used with a soft toy needs to meet the same requirements as the soft toy itself.
What do you class as a small-scale toymaker? Should I be using the self-certification pack?
We can’t define who should and shouldn’t be using the self-certification packs but the reason we give this warning is that a larger scale commercial company has a greater level of due diligence than a smaller company, and therefore would be expected to have testing done professionally by a third party rather than doing it themselves. Carrying out all the testing yourself is a cheap (or free) option, which realistically may not give the same level of assurance as a specialist test lab. For a small-scale maker earning a bit of extra cash, this level of due diligence is appropriate, but a larger scale maker turning a good profit couldn’t claim that they had shown due diligence by testing themselves.