7 March 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Toys have topped an EU alert system for dangerous products. Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has urged toy manufacturers not to ignore the EU’s toy safety rules as by doing so they will put children at risk.
The findings are contained in the European Commission’s yearly report on safety. The Safety Gate rapid alert system enables quick exchange of information between EU/EEA member states, the UK and the European Commission about dangerous non-food products posing a risk to health and safety of consumers.
Most of the toys that are for sale in the EU are made by responsible manufacturers and are safe for children to play with. However illegal toys remained the most flagged product on the Europe-wide alert system for dangerous goods last year, representing 27% of notifications in total for 2020.
MEP Clune said: “The Commission’s Rapid Alert System is a system that helps prevent or restrict the sale of dangerous items. Toys were the most notified product category, making up just over a quarter of all reports.
“In relation to products which do not meet EU safety measures there is concern currently at the lack of regulation when it comes to buying some products, especially those sold online. At present, online platforms must remove the dangerous items once they become aware of them but further consumer studies have shown that the same dangerous items can reappear a number of months or years later. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has urged consumers to be safety aware when buying children’s toys.”
MEP Clue is a member of the Internal Market and Consumer Affairs Committee.
The Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) pointed out that notifications of unsafe items were overwhelmingly linked to dishonest traders ignoring the EU’s strict toy safety rules. 97% were from manufacturers who have no connection to the reputable sector. They said two in five of the toys flagged did not even display the manufacturer’s name and address – a basic obligation for toys being sold in the EU to ensure traceability.
In general, the most frequently flagged concerns related products causing injuries such as fractures or concussions (25%), followed by chemical components in products (18%) and risks for children to choke (12%).
The European Parliament has proposed a series of measures to strengthen consumer protection and enhance product safety and sustainability. MEPs have addressed the issue of unsafe products, such as toys being sold online.
The EU is finalising plans for new legislation called the Digital Services Act (DSA), which will set guidelines for the new online landscape, including online platforms, to ensure a better, safer digital environment for users and companies throughout the EU.