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Buy Toys with Safety Standards

Parents should buy toys with safety standards to keep children safe this Christmas says NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland). As parents prepare to shop for Christmas toys NSAI urges them to look out for particular labels and standards.

“If you’re shopping for toys this Christmas, look out for the CE mark and other safety labels. These labels show that the manufacturer has complied with national and international standards,” said Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI.

All toys should have a visible, legible and indelible CE mark affixed to a label or packaging. Under Irish and European law, toys must display the CE mark, which is a declaration by the manufacturer that they have complied with the European Safety of Toys Directive and Irish and European ‘Safety of Toys’ standard (I.S. EN 71). As a result, the product will have undergone safety testing in the design and manufacture process. With 1.4 million Irish people tuning in to see the latest toys on offer on The Late Late Show this year, it is more important than ever to look out for these important safety standards.

“Most of the time, you don’t even need to notice that these standards are there,” said Maurice Buckley.  “At this time of year, as people prepare for Christmas I would ask people to look out for them particularly since the standards are there for your safety and your children’s.”

The NSAI is Ireland’s official standards and measurement body.  It improves the performance of Irish business and protects all consumers by setting, measuring and certifying the standards of goods and services.

“Though our work is often invisible, our standards are part of your life every day,” said Maurice Buckley.  “You expect, for example, that the seat belt you put on when you get in the car will keep you safe because it is made to a standard.  The brakes will work because they are made to a standard.  The toys your children play with – made to standards.  The stent used in a heart operation, the artificial hip – made to standards of precision worthy of NASA.  Most of the products we encounter in any day, the services we use, will all be governed by standards.  And at this time of year, I want people to pay more attention to them than they normally would.”

Christmas tips

  • Look for the CE mark: Never buy toys that don’t have the CE mark. All toys for sale in Ireland must have the CE safety mark affixed. The CE mark is a declaration from the toy maker that the toy complies with all applicable EU safety rules, among the strictest world-wide, and it shows that the product complies with the particular  safety requirements of the European Safety of Toys  Directive. A declaration indicating compliance with EN 71, the European standard for toys, can also be placed on the toy along with the CE mark. This indicates that the toy complies with all relevant safety requirements, for example, that it is made from a non-toxic material.
  • Don’t forget safety gear: Every Christmas, Santa is inundated with requests for wheeled items, such as scooters, bikes, roller blades and skateboards. It is important that parents ensure their children use the right protective gear when using their new gifts. The CE Mark is also required for personal protective equipment, such as helmets and knee and elbow pads. Never buy protective equipment without a CE Mark. The World Health Organisation estimates that head trauma injury can be reduced by 69% when a helmet is worn during a collision.
  • If buying online, buy from a trustworthy source: Always buy toys from trustworthy online outlets to ensure that all products purchased are genuine and comply with the relevant standards and have the appropriate markings affixed. In addition, check for any missing parts, loose screws or faulty wiring, before giving them as presents.
  • Check second hand toys: Carefully check toys bought second-hand and toys given away by friends. As they are older, they may not meet current safety standards. NSAI is advising consumers to ensure that these products, although cheaper or second hand, display the CE mark and are still in a safe condition. Make sure you read all warning and instructions and be aware of age and safety recommendations.
  • Look for the CE mark on Christmas lights: Many home owners are decorating their homes with outdoor Christmas decorations and lights. However, these outdoor lights are much hotter than indoor lights and can often overheat. NSAI advises Irish consumers to use lights and electrical goods that are CE certified to help prevent any electrical fires.

Further details on CE marking

European Legislation in relation to Toy Safety

For media queries please contact: Peter O’Reilly, NSAI Public Relations Officer, 01 807 3804