The findings, published in the annual EU Safety Gate report, further highlight the need to support reputable toy manufacturers and retailers.
Children’s safety is being put at risk by unsafe and fake toys bought from dishonest traders, according to Toy Industries of Europe (TIE), following the publication of the annual EU Safety Gate Report.
The warning comes after illegal toys once again topped the EU’s Safety Gate, a Europe-wide alert system to warn consumers about dangerous goods. TIE, which represents reputable manufacturers, says the vast majority of toys sold across the EU are made by responsible firms. The organisation says sub-standard products represent a tiny fraction of the toys available in Europe.
In 2018, toys from illegal traders were the product that appeared most often on Safety Gate. They represented 30% of all products flagged by EU member states. They were followed by motor vehicles, clothing, electrical appliances and cosmetics.
Approximately two in five of the 709 toys that were flagged last year did not even identify the maker. This is a basic obligation under the EU’s strict toy safety rules as authorities need to be able to easily contact the manufacturer if a recall or changes to the product are necessary.
Luckily, sub-standard toys represent just a tiny fraction of toys sold in the EU. The vast majority of toys are made by reputable companies who invest time and money in making sure they are safe for children to play with. This includes making sure products are easily identifiable and that they have processes in place to quickly address any issues that could occur.
The rapidly expanding online environment, where the accountability of sellers is often less structured than in traditional retail, comes with particular challenges. TIE is calling for online sales platforms to take more responsibility for the toys they sell, and for the Safety Gate system to have a mandatory field that identifies where the toy was bought, to identify how the toy made its way onto the market.
Catherine Van Reeth, director general of Toy Industries of Europe (TIE), the voice of reputable manufacturers in the EU said: “TIE members are reputable companies who prioritise the safety of the toys they make to help children play safely. Authorities have to work intelligently to keep toys from dishonest traders off the market. This means focusing on catching the criminals who intentionally ignore the rules for profit and put children at risk, and making sure they face more serious penalties.”