The driving force behind our involvement in child safety is to enhance the quality and safety of children’s lives by ensuring that European standardisation and legislation provide better protection for children and decrease the number of accidents in which children are involved.
Children are often unaware of the dangers they face and ANEC is the only European organisation to pay particular attention to child safety in standards. Young children constitute a very vulnerable group within society, and require a high level of protection.
Amongst others, the ANEC Child Safety WG monitors that during standardisation work:
• any new standard or revision of current standards in the child safety field takes a hazard-based approach and that standardisation work in the child safety field is based on a hazard and risk analysis.
• standardisers do not only concentrate on the product standard, but also on the risks related to cords and packaging of the product, as strangulation from cords can come up in any topic (e.g. cords on bags can strangulate a child)
• stability requirements of products are taken into account (e.g. furniture can fall on a child)
Toys are used by children worldwide. It is therefore crucial for ANEC to follow the preparation of European Standards within the field of safety of toys. Toys are subject to EU legislation and fall within the scope of Council Directive 2009/48/EC “Safety of toys”.
The most important issues for ANEC to monitor and follow-up in the field of toys are the implementation of the Toy Safety Directive and the drafting of standards for toys. As toys are part of a very large international and regional trade, ANEC also monitors international standardisation work on toys.
The reduction of risks associated with the use of childcare articles and children’s furniture is of particular importance, because these products are designed to be used by young children. In addition, many more combined childcare articles are available on the market which could result in an increase in hazards and accidents (e.g. the addition of a changing table on the top of a folding cot or a playpen).
Childcare articles and children’s furniture are not at the moment subject to a specific regulation, and fall under Directive 2001/95/EC on General Product Safety.
The most important issues for ANEC to monitor and follow-up in the field of child care articles are the implementation of the studies which were commissioned by DG SANCO to identify potential standardisation mandates. ANEC will also lead the way to use a hazard based approach during the revision and drafting of new standards for childcare articles.
Currently static finger entrapment is covered in most relevant European standards for children’s nursery equipment and child use and care articles, along with moving (dynamic) finger entrapment. However, the dimensions and shape of the holes are always the cause of major discussions. In 2012, ANEC introduced the results of its R&T project on finger entrapment in several CEN Technical Committees in order to discuss the preparation of common requirements for finger entrapment in child safety standards
Play is essential in a child’s life. It is therefore important that the equipment in playgrounds is safe for children to use. Therefore, ANEC participates in the standardisation work on playgrounds and other recreational equipment, focusing on terminology, requirements for safety, fitness for purpose, test methods, marking, installation and maintenance, surfacing and accessibility (play for all).
Playground equipment is not at the moment subject to a specific regulation, and falls under Directive 2001/95/EC on General Product Safety.
Several children in the EU have died or received very serious head injuries due to falls of non-fixed goal posts. For many years, ANEC has expressed its concerns with the fact that the European standard for football goals only deals with goals used during organised activities (i.e. training and competition), and does not take into account the use of these goals during non-organised (leisure) activities. The problem does not only concern football goals but all types of moveable goals. As a result of our concerns, CEN supported the idea of a new separate standard for moveable goals. CEN TC/136 WG 22 ‘Gymnastic and playing field equipment’ is currently preparing the standard, with active ANEC participation.
It is also a priority for the ANEC Child Safety WG to monitor the standardisation of products that are worn by children, such as children’s clothing and shoes, helmets and children’s jewellery.
- ANEC also monitors the standardisation of other products and issues which are related to child safety and/or that pose a threat to child safety, such as child protective devices, child-resistant cigarette lighters, packaging, cords on window blinds, child appealing and food-imitating products, problems with chemicals in products related to child safety, ..
- European legislation and European standards are of no use if they are not properly enforced. ANEC monitors and participates as stakeholder in European market surveillance actions related to child safety
- In order to review or amend European standards for children’s products, there is a considerable need for more data about accidents and unsafe children’s products. ANEC is therefore a partner in the Flemish (Belgian) report point for unsafe children’s products. The report point is an initiative from the Flemish organisation "Kind en Gezin" (Child and Family). The idea is that parents, foster families, crèches and anyone who looks after young children can use the “Kind en Gezin” website to report unsafe toys, children’s furniture or other products intended for children aged 0 to 3 years, or any accidents or near-accidents involving these products. It concerns a pilot project which will be evaluated at a later stage, and which can hopefully turn into a European project in the future.
Where can the registration of unsafe children’s products be done? Go to www.kindengezin.be, click on ‘Ouder’ and then go to ’Onveilig kinderartikel melden’. Reports are made anonymously. They can also be made by telephone via the number + 32 78 150 100, every working day from 8 to 20 hours.
ANEC is represented in:
ANEC is represented in:
During the revision of the Toy Safety Directive, ANEC expressed strong concerns about inadequate chemical requirements for toys. Despite our concerns, the adopted new Directive does not sufficiently protect children from exposure to dangerous chemicals. Many dangerous substances will still be allowed in toys. In 2010, there was growing criticism on the chemical requirements in the Directive. Upon request of ANEC, the European Commission set up a subgroup on chemicals, in order to gather information on the chemical requirements in the Toy Safety Directive, and to make proposals within the legal framework for altering/improving the chemical requirements in the Directive. The consumer seat in this group is taken by ANEC. In November 2012, on the occasion of the second ‘anniversary’ of this subgroup, ANEC, together with BEUC, made a critical review of two years of work and discussion, and concluded that the subgroup failed its mission. See ANEC-CHILD-2012-G-094final.