How can a UK-based educational board game company comply with toy safety regulations?

11 June 2024

As a company creating educational board games for children, it's crucial to understand and comply with the toy safety regulations in place. These stipulations are designed to protect children from hazards that could arise when playing with your product. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to understanding and navigating these rules and regulations, ensuring your products meet the necessary safety requirements.

Understanding Toy Safety Standards

Before delving into the specifics of compliance, it's essential to understand what toy safety standards are. These are a set of safety guidelines specifically designed to ensure the wellbeing of a child while playing with a toy. They focus on aspects such as the design, material, and manufacture of the toy. These standards are established by various bodies, including the British Standards Institution (BSI) and The European Committee for Standardization (CEN).

Understanding these standards is the first step to compliance. They provide a detailed specification of the safety aspects a toy should meet, including mechanical and physical properties, flammability, migration of certain elements, and chemical properties.

For online operators, the safety standards are not different from physical stores. Whether your company operates on a physical site or an online platform, adherence to these standards is a legal requirement, and your products should meet each standard without exception.

Identifying Relevant Safety Regulations

Identifying the specific safety regulations your toy products need to comply with is the next crucial step. In the UK, the main regulation for toy safety is the Toy (Safety) Regulations 2011, which implements the European Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC.

It covers wide-ranging safety requirements, including the design and manufacture of toys, specific restrictions on the use of substances, and the safety information and warnings that must be provided with each toy. Furthermore, this regulation applies to all toys, including games, sold in the UK, whether in a physical store or online.

As an operator, it is your responsibility to ensure your products comply with these regulations. This includes conducting a safety assessment, ensuring your toys meet the essential safety requirements, and affixing the CE marking which indicates conformity with the safety regulations.

Ensuring Compliance with Safety Requirements

Compliance with safety requirements is not a one-time process but a continuous one that begins with the design and development of a toy and continues through to its manufacture, distribution, and sale.

Firstly, it's important to conduct a safety assessment during the design and development phase. This includes identifying potential hazards, conducting risk assessments, and implementing measures to eliminate or reduce risks. The use of suitable materials and safe design principles are fundamental in ensuring your products meet the safety requirements.

Secondly, as a company, you need to ensure the manufacturing process adheres to these safety requirements. This involves regular quality checks and testing to validate that your products maintain the required safety standards.

Lastly, the packaging of your toys should provide necessary safety information and warnings. This helps users understand the intended age range of your products and any potential hazards.

Engaging UKAS-accredited Testing Laboratories

Ensuring your products comply with all safety requirements is a complex process, and it can be beneficial to engage the services of a UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service)-accredited testing laboratory. These laboratories are recognised for their technical competence and reliability in conducting conformity assessments.

They will conduct thorough testing on your products to ensure they meet the necessary safety standards. These tests will include chemical analysis, mechanical and physical testing, and flammability testing. Engaging these services will provide a level of assurance that your products meet all safety requirements.

Navigating Online Sale Challenges

While selling toys online provides a wider reach of your products, it also presents unique challenges in terms of compliance with safety regulations. It's crucial to ensure that the online site you're using for your sales provides adequate information about your product, including safety warnings and the appropriate age range.

For instance, the description of your product should be comprehensive and accurate, outlining what the product is, its intended use, and any potential hazards. The use of clear and understandable language in your product descriptions will ensure your customers have all the information they need to make informed decisions.

Despite the absence of a physical store, online operators must strictly adhere to the toy safety regulations. You should ensure that the necessary safety information and warnings are prominently displayed on your website and product listings. Moreover, photos of your product should clearly depict any safety marks, such as the CE mark, to demonstrate compliance with safety standards.

In conclusion, compliance with toy safety regulations is not an optional activity, but a legal requirement. Understanding the safety standards, identifying the relevant regulations, ensuring compliance with safety requirements, engaging UKAS-accredited testing laboratories, and navigating online sale challenges are key steps in ensuring your products are safe for the child user.

Adherence to Privacy Policy in Children's Products

In the digital era, privacy policy has become a vital part of safety regulations. For a UK-based educational board game company, it is essential to understand the importance of privacy policy compliance, particularly if your products have digital components or are sold online.

A privacy policy is a legal statement that discloses how a company gathers, uses, discloses, and manages a customer or client's data. In the context of children's toys, particularly those intended for children under 13, stringent regulations are in place to protect children's privacy.

In the United Kingdom, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rules apply to companies operating online services, including websites and online games, which are directed to children under 13. These rules require that companies obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children.

This includes information that is collected for the purpose of marketing or advertising. Therefore, your company must ensure that any data collection practices, such as marketing surveys or user account registration, comply with these regulations.

In addition, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, which also applies to the UK, requires companies to be transparent about how they process personal data. Your privacy policy should clearly state what information you collect, why you collect it, and who you share it with.

If your board games are designed to collect data from its users, you must prominently display a privacy policy on your website and on any third-party platforms where you sell your products. As the operator, it is your responsibility to ensure that third parties you work with also comply with these privacy regulations.

Transitioning from CE to UKCA Marking

As a consequence of Brexit, the United Kingdom has introduced UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking to replace the CE marking previously used within the European Union. It is a new product marking that indicates a product's compliance with UK regulatory requirements.

Starting from January 1, 2023, all toys intended for the UK market must bear the UKCA marking to demonstrate conformity with the essential safety requirements as specified in the Toy (Safety) Regulations 2011. This means that your company should now affix the UKCA marking on your products instead of the CE marking.

The UKCA marking should be placed in a visible, legible, and indelible form on the product or its packaging. In some cases, it may also be placed on the accompanying documents. The UKCA marking can only be affixed by the manufacturer or the authorised representative.

This shift to UKCA marking signifies your product's adherence to the UK-specific safety regulations and standards, which is crucial for the UK-based toys market. Manufacturers should ensure they are fully aware of the conformity assessment processes to correctly use the UKCA marking.


Ensuring compliance with toy safety regulations is a significant responsibility for any company in the children's products industry. This obligation is not only for the physical safety of children but extends to their digital safety and privacy as well.

For a UK-based educational board game company, understanding these safety standards is the first step towards creating products that are safe, secure, and enjoyable for children. Whether your company operates in physical stores or online platforms, complying with safety regulations, privacy policies, and new marking schemes like UKCA is absolutely essential.

Apart from the moral obligation to create safe toys, companies that fail to comply with these regulations could face significant penalties, including fines and product recalls. Therefore, investing in understanding and complying with these safety regulations is not just good practice, but good business as well.

Remember, the key to success in the children's products industry is creating products that are not only fun and educational but also safe and secure for the children using them. Compliance with safety regulations is at the heart of this success.

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