Play it safe!
Product quality can be a mousetrap, with businesses always looking to become more competitive.
There are thousands of party products you can buy, no matter your age and the occasion. But this diversity is exactly why product safety has been on the agenda of legislators around the world - in Europe, at least since the early 1960s!
Despite the long and relatively stable historical lineage of product safety regulations, new technologies, changes in the world economy and other major transformations have in recent years brought product safety again to the forefront of policy debates.
Did you know that, within Europe alone, there are many party products that are classed as toys?
The safety of such products in the EU is regulated by the Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC, which not only sets the rules on the safety of toys but also allows their free movement within the EU borders. It came into force on July 20th 2011, by replacing the former 20 years old Directive 88/378/EEC.
To ensure the conformity of their products with the essential requirements of the Toy Safety Directive, manufacturers, in turn, need to apply the relevant harmonised standards, which, in the case of toy products, is the EN 71 - Toy Safety Standards.
What should you pay attention to?
Products of poor quality can sometimes result in a party that's left you in agony, disappointment or at risk, not only for potential physical injury, but also ingestion of hazardous substances which can go unseen.
This is where labelling and markings come into play!
Before toys reach the shelves, they must undergo rigorous testing to ensure they are safe for children to use. Those that meet the standards are marked with a CE label. The product should also be accompanied by a user instruction manual and the manufacturer's or distributor's contact information.
There may be several other warnings on the packaging - all which mean different things. Want to get some understanding of which labelling and markings you may encounter? Then read on through the next pages!