Health and Safety - Finishes
- Certain hardwoods may have an irritating effect on sensitive
skin. Manufactured boards such
as plywood can become swollen and warped if
left outside in the rain. These types of wooden toys need to be regularly
treated. Some of these types of manufactured boards may be glued
together with certain types of dangerous adhesives. These may
be poisonous if swallowed.
- Applied finishes
need to be non-toxic. It is very important to check the manufacturer's
instructions before applying a finish to a toy. These finishes should
be resistant to flaking since small children have a habit of being very
rough with toys.
- The finish should be resistant to water and generally weather proof
if the toys are to be used outside.
It is very important to check the toxicity of paint before using
it. The manufacturer's instruction leaflet, which accompanies
the toy, should explain what type of finish has been used.
- Of course most plastic toys that have been mass-produced
is self-finishing. This means that no applied finish needs to
- When designing a product. In this case a toy safety must be our most
We must consider the safety of all aspects of the toy including; materials,
finishes, choking hazards, finger traps, sharp edges and thickness
of pulling ropes.
- Each year children are harmed through injuries involving toys. This
is because some of the toys may have been badly designed or made.
Other accidents occur through children falling over toys.
- The safety laws in Europe are very demanding. A toy sold throughout
Europe must comply with the strict safety laws.
- All toys need to meet British Standards BS 5665 and European
They must also conform to the 'Toys Safety Directive' 88/378/EEC
and carry a CE mark.
- The CE mark or standard has three sections: -Physical and mechanical
- This refers to all those parts of the toy or game that can be touched
or handled. The standard requires that the toy must not stab, cut, mangle
or choke a child in any way.
- Flammability - If a toy is easily set on fire if placed near
a radiator, heater or naked flame then the toy does not conform to the
- Migration of elements - This refers to any part of the toy
that may be swallowed or chewed. This also refers to poisonous substances.
Small parts must not be allowed to come away from the main body of the
toy. If they do they may be swallowed, or may be stuck up the child's
nose or ears.
- It is important to remember that most paints used in the finish of
children's toys are non-toxic but in the Victorian times
lead paint was used which resulted in children suffering from lead poisoning.
Lead was also used to make such Die-cast toys as lead soldiers
at this time. This hazard was eventually recognised and replacement
paints and materials were eventually used. Die-casting is a process
where melted lead is poured into a two-part mould. The lead is left
to cool and eventually removed from the mould.
- There are certain considerations when designing pull- along toys.
For children under three years old the cord on the toy cannot be smaller
than 1.5mm thick. Any smaller than this and the cord may cut small fingers
if the toy gets trapped.
- Toy cars and trains must not have any sharp edges or points.
If the vehicle is made from metal the edges must be rolled over
or covered so that they cannot cut and injure.
- Mechanical toys may have gears and cogs inside them. These mechanisms
must be covered in such a way that small fingers cannot touch
them. If you poke a pencil or pen into a small gap and are able to touch
the mechanisms, the toy is not safe for small children to play with.
- Any large toy, for example a rocking horse or climbing frame must
be stable when in use. These need to have a low centre of gravity
preventing them from falling over. See-saws and swings must be fixed
to the ground.