This week apart from recovering from a small bout of illness, Ive been working on continuing to CE certify the rest of my soft toys. For those who dont know what this is - its a legal requirement on those working on soft toys to meet if they are creating toys for children under the age of 14.
Although there are a few exceptions that fall outside the definition of toys such as tree ornaments (being an ornament/decoration linked with festivities and celebrations), most toys fall under the Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC which states that such toys must be CE marked in order to be considered safe for children under 14 to play.
There are a series of tests to be carried out which a toymaker could undertake themselves (in which the soft toys become CE self-certified) or hire an outside body to carry out the tests. It could get very complicated if you carry out the tests yourself but there is a company called Conformance CE Marking and Product Safety who supply, for a fee, the documentation which show how to carry out the necessary procedures and checklists for the self-certification. It is also important you video and/or photograph your tests and keep a file of tests done on every different soft toy.
Some of the procedures Ive had to do whilst making my toys involves pulling on the arms of soft toys with G-clamps to ensure arms and legs are not easily pulled off, poking the toy with the end of a wooden spoon to ensure that the stuffing is not accessible to a child and burning the toy with a lighter for a few seconds to test for flammability. One way around the flammability test is to ensure that you only buy yarn from a company that has CE marked their yarn and stuffing otherwise you would have to carry out the test yourself which means you would have to make 2 of the same toy (one tested prior to washing and one after washing) and lose part or all of the toys through the testing.
There are other more complicated tests which involve checking the yarn for chemical migration and ensuring that certain chemicals are non- existent or at a safe limit as little ones tend to put toys in their mouths. As most people are not experienced in checking for this, you may either contact the supplier to request their testing results when they dyed the yarn, for example, or hire a lab to carry out the tests for you.
Crocheting soft toys has never been so complicated but once you begin and finish the process for each toy, you will feel absolute pride in your achievement and the process becomes easier to carry out for the rest of your toys.
In a final note I would encourage every soft toy maker to not do only the legal thing but the right thing for the products we send out into the world.
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