Toys must not pose a risk to children in the age group they are intended for
Toys are products or materials designed for use in play by children under the age of 14. Also regarded as toys are goods that have some other purpose of use if they still have a ’play value’, such as key rings that feature a soft toy. The requirements set in the Toy Safety Act must also be met by toys intended for use in facilities such as kindergartens and day care centres and by toys offered free of charge, such as giveaways, prizes and other promotional products. The Act’s requirements also cover the sales of toys in vending machines as well as in distance or online selling. It should be noted concerning distance and online selling that the warnings and other information, such as age limits and other details that affect the purchase decision, must be displayed on the website or product catalogue at the time of purchase. For more information see the guidelines on distance and online selling at the Tukes website (in Finnish).
Products not considered as toys include decorative objects for festivities and celebration, jigsaw puzzles and board games intended for adults, scale models for adult collectors, folk dolls and decorative dolls, sports equipment, guns and pistols using compressed gas, fashion accessories such as fashion jewellery that are not for use in play.
The toy safety assessments must take into consideration the behaviour of children, who do not show the same degree of care and skills as adults. The Toy Safety Act and toy safety standards do not release parents and educators from the responsibility to oversee children's play.
The Toy Safety Act and the Toy Safety Directive
Toys sold in Finland must meet the requirements set in the Toy Safety Act. The Act (1154 /2011) entered into force on 1st of January 2012, and its chemical requirements came into force on 20th of July 2013. The requirements laid down in the Toy Safety Directive (2009/48/EY) are brought into force in Finland by the Toy Safety Act.
The Toy Safety Act lays down requirements for operators (manufacturers, importers and distributors) as well as the structural and chemical safety of toys. The Government Decree (1218 /2011) issued under the Toy Safety Act contains more detailed requirements for toy structure and composition as well as the warnings which should accompany the toy. Also issued under the Toy Safety Act is the Ministry of Employment and the Economy Decree on the requirements concerning certain chemicals in toys (1352/2011).
Operators must have appropriate knowledge and understanding of toy-related legislation and ensure toy safety before the commencement of sales. For more information see the Tukes website under Instructions to buyers/importers.
Requirements set for toy safety and operators
Requirements relating to toy structure and composition
The Toy Safety Act sets the general safety requirements for the mechanical, physical, chemical, flammability and electrical properties of toys. The Toy Safety Act also sets requirements for cleanliness and hygiene. Decrees issued under the Toy Safety Act lay down more detailed requirements concerning safety, warnings and labelling.
The Toy Safety Act is supplemented by 14 standards (SFS-EN 71 Parts 1−14 and SFS-EN 62115), which contain detailed requirements for the structure, composition, flammability, electrical properties and labelling of toys. In addition, the SFS-EN 14682 standard sets requirements for cords and drawstrings used in dressing-up outfits intended for children. General mechanical and physical properties and warnings for toys are covered by the SFS-EN 71-1 standard. The second part of the standard, SFS-EN 71-2, contains the requirements set for toy flammability and the third part, EN 71-3, provides the requirements set for limit values for (the migration of) certain elements. The other parts cover issues including chemical toys, finger paints, activity toys for indoor and outdoor family domestic use, trampolines and requirements set for organic chemical compounds in toys. Parts 1 to 8 and 12 to 14 of the standard are referenced under the Directive on the safety of toys, and toys in compliance with them, as a rule, with certain exceptions excluded, conform to the requirements set by legislation. Copies of the standards can be bought from the web shop of the Finnish Standards Association (SFS) at http://sales.sfs.fi. For more information on how to use the standards see the Tukes website at Standards.
According to the Toy Safety Act toys must remain safe throughout their useful life. The structure of toys must, for example, be strong enough, and toys may not present a risk of injury, choking, suffocation or strangulation. The chemicals contained by toys must not jeopardise children’s health. Substances the use of which is prohibited or restricted in toys include certain plasticisers (phthalates), CRMs (carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances) and certain substances and mixtures, allergenic perfumes and N-nitrosamines and nitrosatable substances. Toys must not emit a sound that is loud enough to impair children's hearing. Toy packaging must also be safe, which means that, for example, the size and shape of various types of bags and other packaging such as surprise egg capsules must be such that there is no risk of choking. Toys must bear the necessary warnings and user instructions in Finnish and in Swedish.
Particular focus on children under three years old
The Toy Safety Act has a special focus on the safety of toys for children under three years old. Toys and any components that may become detached from them must be of a shape and size that cannot be swallowed by a child or otherwise cause a choking hazard. Detailed requirements set for toys intended for children under three years old can be found in the EN 71-1 standard.
Toys that are not suitable for children under three years old must bear a warning that also includes an indication of the specific hazard calling for the precaution for this particular toy (e.g. 'Not suitable for children under three years old. Small parts may become detached and represent a choking hazard’). The labelling must be provided in Finnish and in Swedish. The age warning itself can be given as text or a specific symbol and must be displayed on the toy, its packaging or on an affixed label. The text specifying the type of hazard must be displayed on the toy, the packaging or the instructions for use.
The Toy Safety Act lists the obligations of the operators included in the supply chain, i.e. the manufacturer, authorised representative, importer and distributor. Some of the important obligations set for the various operators are listed below. Manufacturers, importers and distributors are obliged to cooperate with the authorities, take the measures necessary to withdraw any non-compliant toys from the market or from consumers and report to Tukes any toys that present a risk. The report can be submitted using the form referred to under section 8 of the Consumer Safety Act (920/2011). For more information visit If a product or service presents a risk.
The manufacturer is obliged to design and manufacture the toy in compliance with the relevant requirements. The manufacturer must carry out the conformity assessment and safety assessment procedures in which all the risks caused by the toy are assessed. The manufacturer must document the issues related to the design and manufacture of the toy, i.e. produce the Technical File. The manufacturer must also provide the declaration of conformity (the DoC) and affix the CE marking on the toy. The CE marking may only be affixed by another party, such as the authorised representative, under a written mandate. Manufacturers must indicate their name and address on the toy and make sure their toys bear a type, batch, serial or model number or other element allowing their reliable identification. The number or identifier used must be consistent with the declaration of conformity issued for the toy.
Importers may only import compliant toys to the market. Importers are obliged to make sure that the manufacturer has fulfilled its obligations. Importers must keep a copy of the declaration of conformity for a period of 10 years after the toy has been placed on the market and indicate their name and address on the toy. An importer that places a toy on the market only under its own name or trademark is considered to be the manufacturer. Importers must keep the information concerning the toy’s supply chain for a period of 10 years.
Distributors must ensure the toy's conformity. Distributors must also make sure issues such as storage or transport conditions do not jeopardise the toy's compliance with the requirements set. Distributors are not under the obligation to disclose their details (name or address) on the toy.
For more information about the requirements set by the Directive on the safety of toys see the Commission Guidance Document on the application of the Toy Safety directive and other Guidance Documents found the Commission website.
What are the requirements set for toy labelling?
- Toys and their packaging must contain the details (name and address) of the manufacturer and importer if the manufacturer is outside the EEA (e.g. in the Far East).
- Toys must also contain user and care instructions (such as cleaning and washing instructions for soft toys) and warnings.
- The warning must also be affixed to small toys sold unpackaged (such as marbles).
- The CE marking must be permanently affixed to all toys and their packaging and must be easy to read. The CE marking is the manufacturer's assurance that the product meets the requirements set in current EU regulations for toys. For more information see CE-marking.
Who monitors toy safety?
Authorities overseeing toy safety include Tukes and, for toys imported from non-EEA countries, Finnish Customs. Under section 14 of the Consumer Safety Act (920/2011), Finnish Customs can also perform surveillance on consumer goods, including toys, imported from EEA countries in conjunction with their storage. The authorities conduct random checks to make sure toys are safe and their labelling is correct and sufficient. Tukes also processes reports of dangerous toys received from consumers, operators and via the RAPEX system. To read more about the RAPEX system visit the RAPEX rapid alert system.