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  • Feature Story

Selling toys online: A work in progress to protect children

UL Solutions subject matter experts dive into the e-commerce toy industry.

Retailer placing a toy in a box to ship

May 2, 2022

As e-commerce becomes increasingly accessible and the online market expands in emerging economies, toy manufacturers, brands and retailers must pay attention to evolving future regulatory requirements and international initiatives that impact selling toys online. Doing this may help them avoid product recalls that could damage their brand reputation.

Compared with the traditional brick-and-mortar toy market, e-commerce is not yet deeply regulated, and current online market surveillance mechanisms have not yet adapted to this trend.

One of the issues: online marketplaces have very limited regulatory requirements to verify the safety of toys that companies list on their e-commerce websites.

A recent campaign by the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) in the U.K. found that 86% of toys purchased online did not comply with specific U.K. toy safety requirements. Lack of compliance with safety requirements can pose a higher risk of injury from the sale of toys, including sales through e-commerce.

The regulations globally are expected to further regulate online selling.

To protect the youngest and most vulnerable consumers, the Toy Industries of Europe noted that a successful revision of the European Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC could prove helpful and that it should align with a stronger Digital Services Act (DSA) and General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR).

Both the EU Toy Safety Directive and the GPSR include the regulation of online retail among the topics subject to their review.

These revisions introduce a more risk-based and proportionate approach, define obligations for the different stakeholders, and improve the effectiveness of recall mechanisms and online market surveillance.

Protecting children: Solutions for a safer online marketplace

We care about children’s safety — part of our mission of working for a safer world. With a global network of laboratories and professionals, we support e-commerce retailers and toy companies that want to enter the world of online retail. We provide a wide portfolio of testing and advisory services to help them ensure that their products comply with the requirements of their target markets. No matter where you sell your toys — and whether you sell them offline or in a virtual marketplace — the experts at UL Solutions are here to help. Contact us to learn more.

Originally published in Toy World Magazine, June 2022.

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