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Christmas this year should be that bit safer for children


16 Jun 2011


Health & Consumers

ANEC, the European Consumer Voice in Standardisation, welcomes the adoption and publication of the new toy safety standard EN 71-1:2011 (1). This European Standard replaces EN 71-1:2005. It is the first European Standard published that takes into account the provisions of the new Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC, which will become applicable as of 20 July 2011 (2).


Once it is cited in the Official Journal of the European Union, EN 71-1:2011 will provide presumption of conformity to the new Toy Safety Directive. ANEC was successful in influencing the mechanical requirements of the new legislation, and participated actively in the revision of the standard, which will give better protection to children playing with toys.  For instance, it is thanks to ANEC that textile toys for children under three years must now be able to be cleaned or washed without their safety being compromised. Requirements to prevent children from choking or drowning have also been improved.


Stephen Russell, ANEC Secretary-General, said: “Despite the numerous improvements in the new standard, longer cords on certain toys are now allowed. In our opinion, this will increase the strangulation risk posed to children aged between 18-36 months”.


Some challenges remain for the future. New noise requirements have to be elaborated in order to protect children’s hearing. Better requirements for the presentation of warnings need to be determined as well, as many warnings on toys today are very small, not easy to find nor are easily legible.


It remains to be seen now how the standard will work in practice, and how the toy market will be controlled. “The best legislation or standard is of no use if not properly enforced. ANEC therefore urges the European Commission to resource joint market surveillance actions among Member States in order to strengthen market surveillance at the European level (3) and help ensure that unsafe toys are removed from sale”, added Stephen Russell.


(1)  EN 71-1:2011 Safety of toys - Part 1: Mechanical and physical properties

(2)  The chemical provisions and requirements of Directive 2009/048/EC will only become applicable on 20 July 2013.

(3)  See “Joint ANEC/ORGALIME position paper "Call for an effective pan-European market surveillance system" (


ANEC in brief


ANEC is the European consumer voice in standardisation, representing and defending consumer interests in the process of standardisation and certification. ANEC was set up in 1995 as an international non-profit association under Belgian law and represents consumer organisations from the 27 EU Member States and 3 EFTA countries and Croatia. ANEC is funded by the European Union and the EFTA Secretariat, while national consumer organisations contribute in kind. Its Secretariat is based in Brussels.


The driving force behind ANEC involvement in standardisation related to child safety is to reduce the high number of accidents involving children. Another reason is the need to ensure a minimum quality of products used by and accessible to children. It is equally important to ensure that consumers can distinguish between products complying with minimum safety standards and those that do not.


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