Does this need a CE mark?
Something which comes up before anyone has even made an item/has come across the rules, is ‘Does this item need a CE mark?’ We have a helpful flowchart which is shared regularly here, but quite often when things feel a little overwhelming, questions still come up.
This is also quite often what we call a ‘block’ point, and nearly all makers hit this first wall –hard! This is where questions like ‘Can I label this as a collector’s item/ decoration?’ appear most of all, as it’s usually the first few moments of panic, and searching for ways around the rules, (and believe me, even I tried to get around this one, it’s perfectly normal to try and take the easiest path!)
Look at your item and your intention for it, if you want children to love and enjoy your item and be safe, as well as be legal, your gut will unlikely feel unhappy with labelling it anything else other than with that CE mark.
But just in case you need to make doubly sure, here is some information on what doesn’t need the CE mark.
Not a Toy?
When Googling, here is the part from the Manufacturers responsibilities document from gov.uk people often fall upon:
“List of products that are not considered as toys
decorative objects for festivities and celebrations
products for collectors, provided that the product or its packaging bears a visible and legible indication that it is intended for collectors of 14 years of age and above – examples of this category are: (a) detailed and faithful scale models (b) kits for the assembly of detailed scale models (c) folk dolls and decorative dolls and other similar articles (d) historical replicas of toys (e) reproductions of real firearms”
Of course this is sort of vague, It’s also the first bit of legislation most toy makers read and think…how can I fit my item into this somewhere?!
Or it’s frustrating! even more so when you come across ‘toy like’ items in the market out there, which do not have the CE mark – especially when it comes to decorations and celebrations (Christmas fall apart junk anyone?)
Does my item come under Decorations and Novelties?
This is a particularly tricky one, but we always start with – am I intending this item to be played with? If it’s a yes, then CE mark, if it’s a No, then start with these questions:
Is this Item ‘cuddly’? If it can be picked up and cuddled like a toy, whether it’s got a festival theme or not, it’s a toy, and needs a CE mark
Is this Item likely to be in reach of a child? A few examples on the guidance document for under threes labelling(in the guidance doc: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/toys/safety/guidance/index_en.htm) include cushions aimed at children in shape of toys or with added toy parts, Door hangers – think tooth fairy items, soft height charts,– all these items need a CE mark as they will likely be handled by a child.
Are you selling this item alongside toys? This can cause confusion, so if you’re selling your toys and suddenly switch to decorations that are ‘toy like’ we would strongly suggest CE marking your decorations if they are truly confusable, or separating them completely when selling online.
For example: I make small dolls with faces but no arms etc. I also make small christmas decorations which look the same but with a hanging ribbon for the christmas tree. Now I could sell my ‘decorations’ as not a toy due to the christmas theme… But alongside my toys it could potentially mean that people expect my items to be toys. Now they’re actually made the same way so it makes no sense to not CE mark them, but if they potentially were not made as safe it could cause a child risk this way.
Be sure to label items clearly in descriptions as well as attaching warnings to items(permanent is best) separate albums for showcasing is best if you’re selling online, if you’re not separating pages/websites.
Note: adding a hanging ribbon does not get around the CE mark, if your item is intended for a child to play with, or is likely to be in reach of a child, it still needs marking.
If an item is not a toy, not intended as a toy and can not be mistaken for a toy, do not CE mark it, as this can cause confusion too.
Still not sure?
Hampshire trading standards have a brief guide on novelty items here.
Other examples of decoration/novelty items could include fairy doors – this would be attractive to children but if the intention is decoration only it needs tested and if it fails the weight tests/small parts cylinder test it must include a warning, clear and preferably permanent, stating it’s for decoration only, and the hazard (choke hazard for example).
Read the hants doc above for more information.
Is my item a Collectable Item?
There is a little more guidance on this than novelties/decorations, to decide if your item is a collector’s item take a look at these factors:
Purpose: what is the intended purpose? Is this an object for play? Collector’s objects are intended for those 14 years and older, for collection only, not for play.
Place: Where is the item being sold? Is it being sold alongside toys and other child items? Or is it being sold in a specialist shop/on a website for collectors.
Target: Who is the target audience of the advertising and packaging? Is it being packaged in a way that is intended for collectors and clearly labelled as such an item.
Price: Is it being priced as a collector’s Item would be? Higher than average for a toy item, would insurance be recommended?
Details: Is it attached to a plinth or encased in a box, are the materials those not usual for children’s items
(see more information: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/toys/safety/guidance/index_en.htm)
Items that do not fall into those guidance lines likely need a CE mark.
Where to go from here?
If you’ve just discovered the CE marking path and process, you may wish to start with our basic Free Intro Guide which you can access by signing up to the mailing list or you can join our Entry Level Facebook Group. Alternatively, you can get started on your CE journey by purchasing the full CE Marking Guide or by becoming a member of the CE Marking Handmade Toys Collective!
It’s up to yourself to ensure that you conform to legislative requirements and investigate whether your product or item should carry as CE mark. Generally speaking, if a product has play value it will be considered a toy, however the legislation is fairly generalised as it covers so many toy types. Ultimately, we can advise, but any liability, duty or legal obligation, including due diligence is your own responsibility.