NEWS

UL on online sales and protecting children

Published on: 14th June 2022

UL says regulations around selling toys online are a work in progress to protect children, offering support from experts and an upcoming webinar. 

As eCommerce becomes increasingly accessible, and the online market expands in emerging economies, toy manufacturers, brands and retailers must pay attention to evolving future regulatory requirements and international initiatives that impact selling toys online, to avoid product recalls that could damage their brand reputation.

Compared with the traditional brick-and-mortar toy market, eCommerce is not yet deeply regulated, and current online market surveillance mechanisms have not yet adapted to this recent trend.

The global safety certification company UL outlines how its services can help retailers better safeguard kids against the dangers posed by unsafe or illegal toys.

One of the issues is that online marketplaces have very limited legal responsibilities to verify the safety of toys that companies are listing on their eCommerce websites. A recent campaign carried out by the BTHA in the UK found that 86% of toys purchased online from a selection of high profile online retailers were illegal to sell in the UK market, being non-compliant with specific UK toy safety requirements, and that 60% of these toys were unsafe for children to play with.

The international regulatory landscape is expected to move further towards regulating online selling. In order to protect the youngest and most vulnerable consumers, the Toy Industry of Europe has noted that a successful revision of the European Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC could be helpful in this regard, and that it should also be aligned with a stronger Digital Services Act (DSA) and General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR).

Both the EU Toy Safety Directive and the GPSR revisions include, among the topics subject to their review, the regulation of online selling. These revisions aim to introduce a more risk-based and proportionate approach, define obligations for the different stakeholders, and improve the effectiveness of recall mechanisms and online market surveillance.

UL cares about children’s safety as part of its mission to work for a safer world. With a global network of laboratories and professionals, UL supports eCommerce retailers and toy companies that want to enter the world of online selling, providing a wide portfolio of testing and advisory services to help them ensure their products comply with the requirements of their target markets. No matter where companies sell their toys, UL’s experts are here to help. Contact toys@ul.com to learn more or join the upcoming October webinar by registering at ul.com/toys-ecommerce-webinar.

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