Sometimes when it comes to some items, its a funny grey area which crosses over into two sections. Tutus and Tutu dresses are well and truly in the middle of this.
This blog is based on information which can be found in the EN71-1, and the useful guidance documents which can be read: http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/5853/attachments/1/translations
Many makers who make tutus, and tutu dresses, clearly realise there a big loophole(big enough to get a child’s head into!) when it comes to CE marking or not, and tend to take the path of least resistance IE, not CE mark.
Children love to play. quite often part of that play involves costume and role play, tutus come into the role of princesses and ballerinas, witches and whatever other theme the maker’s or child’s imagination takes them to!
Why wouldn’t they be classed as toys?
Tutus may be used in performances such as ballet, they may form part of wedding clothing, they may be photography props for under 1 years of age.
What if I just mark them as clothing?
A couple of years back there was a huge campaign by claudia winkleman and watchdog, about the fire safety testing on fancy dress costumes. The campaign (created as a result of an awful accident which happened to Claudia Winkleman’s daughter) was saying that the fire testing put on fancy dress was not enough, and that they should follow clothing restrictions, and by clothing restrictions, they actually meant, nightwear restrictions. If you saw the way the costumes burnt, it was pretty disturbing, some didn’t even pass the standards for toy safety. Now imagine selling a tutu which a child could use in the same way as a halloween costume, without even checking how it burns? bit of a scary thought.
Now manufacturers conscience aside, if you were making tutus as occasional wear only, there are a few things you must think about
- design – anything with resembles a princess dress or on any kind of theme based on film (be careful with trademarks) etc needs the CE mark, as its pretty much a given that its for role play. (even if you really believe its for a certain themed wedding ;))
- Where is it being sold? If you’re selling in a shop which sells toys for children, where it could also be mixed up as fancy dress, it again needs the CE mark. If you were selling alongside wedding dresses, then it may be different. Even selling alongside children’s clothing is questionable, unless its truly special occasion wear.
- Sizing – selling as a photography prop or costume for under ones may give you leeway(if you were selling on a photography prop website for example), but bear in mind the europa docs also says that many costumes are marked as CE marked from birth even though a child could not dress themselves in it. Anything in the 1-14 age category is fancy dress toy range, which is the most difficult range to not CE mark without good explanation.
- How are you portraying your business? If your customer photographs are full of happy children twirling in their tutus, vs wedding photographs, there is a good chance that someone could mistake your tutus as play items and not occasional wear.
- Your labelling, have you checked your tutus meet clothing standards? labelling? general product standards?
Sadly nowadays its rarely a case of make something and sell it. CE marking might well seem like a chore and a waste of time and money but legally, and insurance wise its important to be within the law. Not only that, but to sell something for children that you know is safe, gives you a good sense of satisfaction, it also shows you respect your customers safety and take your business liability seriously.
How do I CE test a tutu?
The most difficult part of certifying tutus especially, is the burn test,due to the equipment used. However once you have read through the standards, and figure that out, it does get easier, certified materials are available either through our website or online. Then its matter of being sure your tutu conforms to physical tests, particularly the lengths of ribbon rule, as many tie up tutus will not conform when undone. Once you’ve sorted your design, certified materials and tested it physically and flammability, then its a matter of labelling and keeping a file on your findings (we have the paperwork here)
Remember its down to the onus of the manufacturer to check that they are working within the law for CE marking, and while we might guide you, our word is not law.
For beautiful CE marked Tutus, check out Tulle Box Creations who helped make this blog possible!