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With so many soft toy manufacturers to choose from how can you select the right partner and be sure that your toy will be made to your requirements and meet all the relevant safety legislation?
Whether you have developed your own toy or if you are a business looking to have your mascot made in to a soft toy finding someone to partner with can be stressful.
You need someone you can trust to make your toy safely and to your design requirements, but how can you know who you can trust? Obviously we think that your best plan would be to work with Best Years but since toy safety will be at the core of your new product development here are some things to look for when selecting a toy manufacturer.
Since the toy safety legislation changed back in 2013 it has been a requirement for toy manufacturers to design in safety to their toys. Previously toys were tested once they had been manufactured which meant that people relied too heavily on the test certificate without thinking about what was or was not appropriate to include in a toy.
So a good toy manufacturer should advise you on aspects of safety and testing. Specifically there are certain things to look out for
1. Small pieces. Eyes and nose should always be embroidered. If you have to have small parts (are you sure, why?) make sure they are small enough to pass the choke test. This is to ensure that if the small part does come off the toy then it can be swallowed easily and won't stick in the throat of a small child.
2. Material. If you have a toy designed for the very young the material should be very short pile, only if the toy is designed for 3+ should the hair be long. However all soft toys are deemed to be attractive to the very young so should be designed and manufactured to be suitable from birth.
3. Seams. If seams come undone then the child may get access to the stuffing inside the toy. To avoid this issue the manufacturer needs to ensure there is sufficient seam allowance.
4. Needle Book. All reputable manufacturers should have a needle book. This is where every needle used is signed in and out everyday. If a needle breaks then all the pieces will be taken to the supervisor and taped in to the needle book so they can see if any parts are missing. Toys should also go through a magnetic machine at the end of manufacturing to ensure there is no metal left in the toy.
However the most important part of investigating a potential toy manufacturer is asking them about something which sounds like a very mundane and boring subject, and that's labeling. Labeling is essential in CE and EN71 and a good toy manufacturer will have a detailed knowledge of the EU labeling requirements.
Toys need to have sew in labels for testing and washing requirements and then hang tags for branding. If toys are very small then the information normally contained on the sew in label can be on a swing tag instead but then the consumer must be advised to keep the label for future reference.
Best Years specialise in own brand manufacture and making custom toys. If you are looking for toy manufacturers then we would love to work with you so please contact us with your requirements and we will be very happy to help.
phone - 01327 262189