You may already know that all toys sold in the UK and the EU have to be compliant with the Toy Safety Directive (link). A part of this directive is the EN71 standard. 

What is the EN71/BSEN71 standard? 

All toys sold in the European Union must adhere to the 12 European Product Safety standards that are EN71. 
In the UK these are known as the BSEN71 standards, and apply to all toys sold within the United Kingdom. 
The standard is separated into 12 parts; Parts 1,2 and 3 are the most commonly used. 
With around 210 different tests, Part 1 covers two age groups (toys intended for the under 3 age group, and those intended for the over 3 age group) and checks for physical & mechanical safety. Toys are subjected to a number of tests that are designed to mimic the natural behaviour of children when playing — looking at sharp points, sharp edges, small parts, packaging and labelling etc. 
Part 2 covers the flammability aspect of toys, including the burn rate of teddy bears, soft toys, play tents, dress up costumes, etc. 
Part 3 concerns the chemical toxicity and migration of certain elements and is generally for most toy materials such as textiles, wooden toys, paper, plastics & coatings, and paperboard, etc. These are known as Category 3 materials. 
You can find out more about these 3 parts on our toy safety testing page. 

Is EN71/BSEN71 a mandatory part of toy testing? 

Yes, toys must adhere to the EN71/BSEN71 standards in order to be compliant with the Toy Safety Directive. 
Toys that are not compliant with both EN71 and the Toy Safety Directive cannot legally be sold or distributed within the UK and Europe. 

Is laboratory testing for EN71/BSEN71 mandatory? 

In short, no. You do not have to submit your product to a testing laboratory for EN71/BSEN71 testing. Self certification is allowed, and as long as you can prove that your product/toy has passed all the relevant checks for the parts of the standard that apply, then it is considered compliant. 
However, laboratory testing is highly recommended in order to ensure full compliance with all relevant EN71/BSEN71 standards. 
Remember, Part 1 involves a whole range of tests (around 210!) — do you have the in-house facilities to test for sharp edges, loose parts, dangerous components and more? 
When it comes to Part 2, can you reliably test the burn rate of a teddy bear or dressing up costume? 
And when we get to Part 3, see here for the chemical toxicity tests you’ll need to be able to do. 
So yes, you can self-certify when it comes to EN71/BSEN71 testing, but in order to have the assurance and documented proof of EN71/BSEN71 compliance, laboratory testing is definitely recommended. 
Do you have a toy product that needs to be EN71/BSEN71 tested? At NTH we can fully test and provide certificates for a number of toy and children’s products. Contact us now for an initial quotation. 
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