Testing, Toy Safety and Trading Standards

As a toy company testing and safety regulations are core to everything we do and the first thing we do when designing our knitted dinosaurs is design safety in to them.

When we first set up as a toy wholesaler, way back in time, Liz had already been working in the toy industry for 20 years so she had a thorough grasp of toy safety and the legislation around manufacturing toys. As we created our exclusive knitted dinosaur toys we have always wanted to ensure that we were doing everything we could to design safety in to our toys which is why we have no small parts and we have only ever worked with one factory rather than shopping around for the cheapest option.

Which is why the news about the safety scare of slime coming so close to Xmas is particularly shocking.

Part of the blame must go to the severe cutbacks to Trading Standards who historically routinely surveyed toys sold on 3rd party platforms such as Amazon and EBay and also Xmas markets to ensure that they complied to safety standards.

Without this first line of safety checking unscrupulous companies can easily import popular toys from China without having any knowledge of toy safety. As soon as a new playground craze breaks these companies source a cheaper alternative to the well know brands and flood our markets.

This happened last year with 2017 Fidget Spinners. At first they were imported by dedicated toy companies but within a year their popularity grew to the point where companies with no idea about toys bought in to a craze even though they knew nothing about toy safety, and imported toys with  rusty ball bearings.

For some reason testing is always portrayed as a negative thing. It is referred to in a derogatory manner as "red tape" but in reality it provides manufacturers with parameters in which to work.Testing and regulations should be viewed as good thing, a secure structure in which to make quality products.

Luckily for parents everywhere Which magazine have picked up some of the slack and it is they rather than Trading Standards who picked up the issues with slime. They bought 13 different brands of slime and 6 of them failed to meet EU safety legislation despite the fact that they had added the CE mark to their labels. 
Personally I would now boycott all and every brand of slime. You cannot trust any of them, and you can make your own slime if your kids really love it. if you have older kids, and they really love slime then make sure that they wash their hands thoroughly after use to minimise the risk.

The rise of 3rd party platforms such as EBay and the lack of funding for Trading Standards has opened a door to sub standard toys finding their way in to the UK. So our top tips if you are buying toys are as follows.

1. Avoid bead eyes unless they are on toys from respected toy manufacturers such as Jellycat. They can be a choking hazard so if you are buying from a market place, real or digital, just avoid them!

2. Always check that the toy has a sew in label. This is the white label on the toy showing the address of the manufacturer. It should be marked with CE. If the toy doesn't have a label, or it doesn't have a CE mark then again we would advise choosing another toy.

3. Although its marvellous to be given free toys we would suggest that unless you know who originally made the toy, and how old it is, 2nd hand toys are best left alone. Toy safety regulations have been tightened up in the last few years so toys which were originally approved could no longer be viewed as safe. In particular any of your childhood toys that your mother digs out of the loft/shed should be discarded immediately! Toy safety has come a long way since the 80s.

4. Don't buy unbranded toys from 3rd party platforms such as Amazon and eBay. Companies which specialise in organic toys are more likely to care more about what is in toys but unless they are the manufacturers they may not know what is in them.

Be careful out there!

Best Years Ltd www.bestyears.co.uk




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