UL warns of regulations and compliance for smart and connected toys

Published on: 10th January 2022

The smart and connected toys market is expected to reach $69,932m by 2026, according to Transparency Market Research.

Expert testing house, UL, has set out three common regulatory and compliance requirements for manufacturers of smart and connected toys.

Its report also shows the sector recorded a compound annual growth rate of more than 36% from 2018-2026, but with advanced toy technologies comes a set of risks, safety challenges, performance issue and regulatory requirements which might be unfamiliar to some toy manufacturers. Toys that incorporate wireless, AI and computing components may introduce unknown risks to users and manufacturers alike while offering exciting new potential for learning, entertainment and fun.

UL says some of the most common considerations for manufacturers introducing smart toys are:

Wireless, safety and performance – connected toys that contain wireless components or connectivity engines are subject to an entirely new set of regulatory requirements, which vary by region. As an example, the Radio Equipment Directive (RED) in the EU requires many kinds of testing to verify the safety of wireless devices. The Federal Trade Commission (FCC) oversees similar standards in the US. To sell wireless toys in these markets, companies must demonstrate compliance with regional requirements. Understanding of the relevant regulations applicable to each market is an arduous but essential step in gaining global market access.

Industry certifications – depending on the technologies used in the toy, conformity with industry certifications will be required before the toy’s market launch and to earn brand trust. For example, toys that incorporate Bluetooth must have Bluetooth SIG to ensure the product properly connects and functions with Bluetooth. Other technologies go through similar certification testing to help ensure conformity with the same.

Cybersecurity – as is the case with any connected product, cybersecurity presents a formidable challenge to companies. A top concern among consumers is cybersecurity breaches. The prudent thing for companies is to establish healthy cybersecurity culture, including sufficient cybersecurity testing and monitoring to identify and address potential vulnerabilities.

UL is a trusted name in safety and performance testing, as well as third-party certifications, and has the experience, worldwide facilities and expertise to help toy companies navigate the complexities of introducing smart toys to the market. Its wide range of testing includes electromagnetic compliance (EMC), specific absorption rate (SAR), product safety, Bluetooth conformance, cybersecurity and radio testing. It can help position toy manufacturers for streamlined compliance, the launch of safe toys and long-term success.

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