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Softie/ Toy Makers - Trading Standards & Testing - HELP !

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  • Softie/ Toy Makers - Trading Standards & Testing - HELP !

    Hi, I've recently spoken to Trading Standards and subsequently a Testing House regarding safety issues when making soft toys, softies, plushies etc.

    I want to start selling through a website but have been completely knocked back by what I have been told.
    My creations are all extremely well made as I am very mindful of the fact children will want to play and handle them. TS has told me that anything intended for children has to go through rigorous checks such as durability, flammability,toxicity, environmental, plastics testing etc.
    But the cost of all this completely rules out small businesses and people making one-off unique items.

    I am terrified now that if I continue I'll get into trouble and so have put all my creating on hold for the time being.

    Can anyone offer me a silver lining ? I have spoken to other people who create similar things to me i.e. intended for child use and they haven't gone through the testing route either. They have suggested just putting a tag or accompanying leaflet to say 'Not suitable for children under 3 years' but when I suggested this to TS they said it wouldn't really suffice.

    My head is spinning and I'm feeling really down as I have had such brilliant feedback so far and was hoping to make a little business from my sewing.

    Please, please can anyone help me ? Or has anyone come across or worried about this issue too ?

    I'm new to this forum and so don't think I can post any images of my work yet.

    many thanks
    Laurie


    www.23beechhill.co.uk

    http://23beechhill.blogspot.com


  • #2
    Calm................ you're okay. My trading standards officer is obviously much better than yours. She started from the opposite end and was ever so helpfull in making sure i could continue with what I was doing.
    The main thing is you can self certify yourself to enable you to use the CE symbol on your tags or packaging. It just means another layer of record keeping that a trading standards officer can check when they visit you.
    I am working on a spread sheet for this if any one is interested.
    The things you have to worry about are
    sharp, pointy bits that might stab.......eliminate them
    anything that can fall off or be removed that could cause choking.....remove, don't use. If there is a possibility put "not suitable for children under 36 months due to small removeable parts" on you tag, packaging.
    Flammability........check materials for flame resistance i.e. when exposed to a flame it doesn't immediately catch fire or the flame extinguishes once the source of the fire is removed.
    All the above has to appply to anything that may be purchased or used by anyone under 14 years. Unfotunately this means all soft, plushie things.

    Did the trading standards officer give you a copy of the act concerned? There is also an act on distance seling i.e. on the internet but again it's not anything to be scared of.

    If you want to discuss this in more depth feel free to private message me.
    Margaret
    http://slackstitches.com
    Handmade bears and textile gifts

    Comment


    • #3
      Oh, thank-you Margaret. I feel much now. Yes, my TS lady was fairly new. She trained as a lawyer but decided it wasn't for her and has only been a TS officer for 7 months.

      I need to trawl through the info that I have and then I may well get back in touch if that's OK.

      Thanks so much !
      Laurie
      Laurie


      www.23beechhill.co.uk

      http://23beechhill.blogspot.com

      Comment


      • #4
        As I got the benefit of a really nice girl at trading standards I am willing to help anyone out in wading through the mountains of legal stuff. Although she gave me the document she also gave me an idiots guide talk to what I really needed to know about and we used one of my bears as part of the process.
        It really is just about accountability and being able to trace your supplies ( think mince, cows, BSE if it helps). Sending your creations to a very expensive lab. does not resolve your problems as they take no responsibility, it still comes back to you and your ability to prove what you use and the level of you workmanship.
        Don't stress out with worry, just get in touch to "talk"
        Margaret
        http://slackstitches.com
        Handmade bears and textile gifts

        Comment


        • #5
          You're a star Margaret thanks so much. I've not had any internet connection until now so sorry for my delay in replying.

          I will definitely get in touch once I've read through the websites that the TS girl gave me, just so I have a bit more knowledge.

          Laurie
          Laurie


          www.23beechhill.co.uk

          http://23beechhill.blogspot.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Margaret, OK, well I spent some time last night looking at some websites that the Trading Standards lady gave me to look at. There is so much information to wade through I'm still not sure what my next step is.

            I'll start by telling you what I make. Soft textile designs, which are stuffed with a good quality Polyfill (conforms to fire & safety regs). All have some form of hand stitched felt applique on them.

            I get all my fabrics and felt from reputable outlets e.g. John Lewis, Laura Ashley, Buttonberry, Cowslip so I'm assuming all fabrics would have been previously tested for flammability ?

            From my point of view I cannot see anything that could be deemed as dangerous on my designs but all the same I want to do things properly.

            I have read that if the toy has been manufactured in accordance with the toys safety standards - and the standards cover all aspects relating to the toy – then it can be self-certified. As you mentioned also.
            Apparantly I would have to prepare a Declaration of Conformity and affix the CE Marking to my designs.

            Q : Are we talking EN71 here ? Do you have a copy that you could email me ?
            Q : How do I go about self certifying ?
            Q : What is a Declaration of Conformity ?
            Q : Do I have to affix a CE label or would a leaflet suffice ?
            Q: What records would I need to keep ?

            Q: What else do I need to do ?

            I'd really appreciate all the help I can get as quite obviously my area TS hasn't helped me much so far.

            I do hope you can help me. I have today been offered to showcase some of my work at a local country interiors outlet which could potentially provide me with a lot of work.

            Looking forward to hearing from you. My email is
            laurie at mysassy dot fsnet dot co dot uk

            Many, many thanks

            Laurie
            Laurie


            www.23beechhill.co.uk

            http://23beechhill.blogspot.com

            Comment


            • #7
              To what extent does this apply?

              I make soft, squishy things (doorstops for example) BUT they're not intended to be used as toys. They are soft furnishings. I also make cushions, but I use pads that I have bought from Wilkinsons. Again, they're not toys, but they may well end up in a child's bedroom.....?

              This has got me a bit worried because I am intending mail-shotting shops to try and sell to the retail and if that means I'm going to be asked about certificates and stuff, I may as well give up now!

              PLUS, I can't account for all of my material .... All the stuff I make for children is definitely new fabric, but some of my bags that I know are bought for girls are made out of recycled jeans and have buttons sewn on them.
              Blog Website Flickr

              Comment


              • #8
                From what I can see you don't come into the "intended as a toy for under 14 years" which is how it was explained to me. I did ask about cot quilts and things but she didn't think there was anything to cover that other than list materials used and care instructions.
                The hardest loophole seems to be "toys" and there are many categories within that area.
                http://slackstitches.com
                Handmade bears and textile gifts

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 23BeechHill View Post


                  I get all my fabrics and felt from reputable outlets e.g. John Lewis, Laura Ashley, Buttonberry, Cowslip so I'm assuming all fabrics would have been previously tested for flammability ?
                  Do not assume that. I worked closely with High Street retailers for a number of years, in a company supplying them with fabric/soft furnishings. The testing was down to us suppliers not the retailer. The retailer give us guidelines on which testing was needed for which products, but I can tell you that our fabrics which we supplied as piece goods were not tested for flammability as it wasn't a requirement, even for cushions it wasn't a requirement. The pads/inners for cushions were required to be tested. It is just a thought but could you try and buy your wading from a wholesaler who may be prepared to give you certificates to to show its been though the relevant tests.
                  Amanda
                  xx

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Amanda, I get all my wadding/ stuffing from Dunhelm Mill and it does state on the big bag that it conforms to the furniture and furnishings fire & safety regs of 1988 so I'm hoping this is adequate.

                    It's the fabric that concerns me. I have so much and it's all different. Margaret (slackstitches) suggests testing a small piece of each different fabric for flammability but I'm not sure what the regulations say.
                    Do you discard it if it smoulders, woofs up in a big puff of smoke and flames, how quick does it have to catch?

                    I suppose you have to use your common sense as most fabrics are flammable to some degree.

                    And, what about synthetic (not wool) felt ? I use a lot of that too. Margaret has been looking into a spray on fire retardant. Now I have my internet connection back I'll look into it too.
                    Laurie


                    www.23beechhill.co.uk

                    http://23beechhill.blogspot.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi Laurie,

                      Here is the link for the textile testing house we used to use for all our testing. I notice they have a section on toys and another on flammability. They have downloadable guides to the regulations. I used to find them extremely helpful. I hope it helps a little.

                      http://www.hstts.co.uk/pages/home
                      Amanda
                      xx

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Amanda,
                        Thanks for this. Self Certifying seems to be the route to go down, as Margaret suggested. It's certainly a lot of information to digest.

                        Laurie
                        Laurie


                        www.23beechhill.co.uk

                        http://23beechhill.blogspot.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          have just been reading your replies to the Trading Standards post with great interest. I was on the verge of giving up as I had read many scare stories on other forums and have also not had much luck from my TS for advice. But I am still confused.

                          I am hoping to start making baby cot quilt sets and older childrens soft furninshings. I also make baby blankets, baby and childrens clothes, bibs and childrens soft furnishings such as cushions, bunting, bed tidys etc., bags headbands and I was hoping to sell felt baby books. Do you know if any of these need testing ?

                          Any help would be much appreciated also any websites that you may know of too ? Also details of the speadsheet you mentioned.

                          Sorry to bombard you with so many questions but I was on the verge of giving but your posts have given me new hope.

                          Many thanks in advance
                          UPDATED 11th November
                          http://icklepicklepumpkinpie.blogspot.com/

                          http://confessionsofaslimmingworlddieter.blogspot.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Blimey! This applies to me too! The whole point of some of the items that I make is that they are made entirely from natural materials and that means natural stuffing too!
                            I currently use organic sheep's wool to stuff my soft toys. Does anyone know if this conforms? I have bought my own children toys filled with wool from a number of websites spe******ing in natural and organic toys (mainly Waldorf ones) so there must be some kind of guidelines somewhere!
                            Natalie
                            website blog

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Found this. It's an absolute jungle out there!

                              http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/m...afe%20Toys.pdf

                              Thought it might make some of us feel a bit calmer!

                              One thing that did spring to mind when I read through was the bit about toys not looking like food! I know there are an awful lot of people making felt or knitted food at the moment (have done for my own kids). I am assuming there must be some standard under which you can make and sell toy food as there is plenty of it for sale in shops, mail order companies etc! Anyway, if you make toy food to sell that is something you'll have to look into.

                              Personally, I am going to carry on making the few soft toys that I do but makiing sure they adhere to the standards mentioned in the above link, testing all my materials (stuffing included) for flammmability. I am going to purchase some labels from http://www.wovenlabelsuk.com/website...ory.asp?cid=54 , attach them to my soft toys and carry on crafting!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                              Natalie
                              website blog

                              Comment

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