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Key Learnings from 2019 EU Recalls: DAMAGE TO HEARING

Learn more about toys that were recalled due to concerns they may damage hearing.

Key Learnings from 2019 EU Recalls: DAMAGE TO HEARING

August 18, 2020

Why it’s dangerous?

When the sound level is too high or there is prolonged exposure to elevated levels over a period of time, a child’s hearing can be damaged.


The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has issued the EN 71–1 standard, which covers the mechanical and physical properties of toys. The acoustic requirement is one of the clauses in EN 71–1. All toys that deliberately produce sounds are required to be assessed and separated into 11 product types and three exposure categories. These requirements are intended to address the auditory hazards associated with high continuous and impulse sound pressure levels. They apply only to toys that are clearly designed to emit sound, i.e., toys with sound-producing features such as electric or electronic devices, percussion caps, or rattling components. Unintentional sound from the operation of the toy is excluded from the requirements.

The product types are:

  • Close-to-the-ear toys
  • Tabletop or floor toys
  • Hand-held toys
  • Toys using headphones or earphones
  • Rattles
  • Squeeze toys
  • Pull-along or push toys
  • Percussion toys
  • Wind toys
  • Cap-firing toys
  • Voice toys

The three exposure categories are:

  1. Toys emitting sound during time periods typically longer than 30 seconds after each initiation
  2. Toys emitting sound during time periods typically shorter than 30 seconds but longer than 5 seconds after each initiation
  3. Toys emitting sound during time periods typically shorter than 5 seconds after each initiation

Suggested testing package

To evaluate the acoustic requirement, the European Standard to apply is EN 71–1, Safety of toys — Part 1: Mechanical and physical properties.

To know more download SAFETY OF TOYS — Key learnings from 2019 EU recalls


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Overview reports of SAFETY GATE notifications, published free of charge in English on, © European Union, 2005–2020. The official contact points of the Member and EFTA-EEA States provide the information published in these weekly overviews. Under the terms of Annex II.10 to the General Product Safety Directive (2001/95/EC) responsibility for the information provided lies with the notifying party. The Commission does not take any responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided.


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