Safety Marks: What Do They Mean?
Your child is protected by safety laws that require that everything sold is reasonably safe. Manufacturers, importers and Trading Standards Officers together spend millions of pounds each year making sure new products are safe. Look for these signs that show goods are up to safety standards.
British and European StandardsThese are drawn up by manufacturers, safety experts and others to establish minimum quality standards. By law, goods should pass the safety sections of these standards. They are often marked on the packaging of the product, and in some cases are on the product itself.
- Child Safety Seats: ECE R44.03
- Children's Toys: EN71
- Cots: EN716
- Fireguards: BS 6539
- Highchairs: BS 14988-1
- Pushchairs and Prams: BS 7409
- Safety Gates: EN1930
- Smoke Alarms: BS 5446
The Kitemark is the symbol that gives consumers the assurance that the product they have bought really does conform to the appropriate British Standard and should therefore be safe and reliable.
Manufacturers are not legally required to display a Kitemark on their products, but many products such as those listed above with a BS reference will most likely have them displayed.
The CE Mark
It is not a European safety marker or quality symbol. Its purpose is to indicate to authorities that the toys bearing it are intended for sale in the European Community, that they meet the essential safety requirements of the European Toy Safety Directive and are entitled to access European Community markets.
There may be warnings written by the mark and these should be heeded. A toy that is safe for a five year old may be dangerous when played with by a younger child. Anything that looks like a toy but does not have a CE mark should not be given to a child.
The CE Mark is now appearing on many other products including cycle helmets, and knee and elbow protective pads used by skateboarders and others.
The Lion Mark
While the Lion Mark is only used by BTHA members, its membership includes many major international and European companies. In all, the BTHA members supply around 95% of all toys sold in the UK.
For a toy to display the Lion Mark, the supplier has signed a strict Code of Practice, (the BATR Code is based on this same document), which, as well as covering toy safety matters, demands the highest standards of ethics in advertising.
The Lion Mark for Retailers
This symbol displayed in the shop, in catalogues and in retailer advertising, indicates that the retailer has agreed to the Code of Practice and, as such, is prepared to make strenuous efforts not only to offer safe toys for sale, but to ensure management and staff are briefed on toy safety matters such as age warnings and similar.