Standards for children’s safety
ONR 2913387, a European recommendation, raises the safety of products for infants and young children.
Safety issues have always played a key role in European standardization. The focus is primarily on reducing or eliminating hazards that are not immediately apparent, for example in the world of children. Standards for children range from safety requirements for toys – complementing the European Toy Safety Directive – and playground equipment to product standards on articles such as baby soothers and teats for feeding bottles.
ONR 2913387 lays down safety requirements and test methods related to hazards that may result from products for infants and young children. It covers all kind of hazards that are relevant for these products in general. Additionally, it gives recommendations for precautionary safety measures designed to avoid injury and harm.
A baby is born
New parents need a great variety of products for their baby, one of them being soothers. These have meanwhile become veritable high-tech products. Scientific findings of orthodontics and dental medicine decide on the soothers' design and material properties, clinical studies and the exchange of experiences among international experts underpin this knowledge. One of the pioneers in the development of standards for soothers is the manufacturer MAM. When a national standard on pacifiers was initiated at Austrian Standards in the 1980s, MAM was one of the first enterprises to come on board. After successfully completing that project, Austrian representatives advocated the adoption of a European Standard that was eventually published as EN 1400.
As a rule, the first purchases made for a baby include not only soothers but also a pram. The safety requirements and test methods applying to it are defined in ÖNORM EN 1888. This standard specifically deals with thermal, mechanical and chemical hazards as well as detailed instructions for use.
Parents who prefer baby carriers can trust in their safety based on ÖNORM EN 13209. In contrast to prams, babies are in a largely vertical position. As a result, their mothers or fathers have their hands free and are able to perform activities while standing and/or walking. This standard deals with the materials used (including their chemical characteristics), design, small parts and leg openings. Children transported in these carriers must have a weight of at least 3.5 kg.
When later on babies start to move on their own and parents provide them with walking frames, ÖNORM EN 1273 specifies safety requirements and test methods.
Toys and "invented toys"
A baby turns into a young child and, with shining eyes, reaches for a teddy bear. To make sure that this cuddly toy does not lose a leg or ear shortly after it was bought, "Directive 2009/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the safety of toys" defines the essential requirements to be met by toys before they may be placed on the market in the European Economic Area. By affixing the CE marking, the manufacturer or importer declares that a toy complies with the essential requirements of this Directive.
In addition, the individual parts of ÖNORM EN 71 lay down requirements and test methods for the mechanical and physical properties of toys, with toys being understood to include all products or materials that are designed or intended for use in play by children of less than 14 years.
The standard gives special attention to toys for young children (aged less than 36 months). The biggest hazard to be avoided is the swallowing of small parts. Other important aspects are packaging and warnings that need to be provided either on the toy or in accompanying instructions. Moreover, not only the manufacturer, but also retailers should have detailed knowledge of relevant facts so that they can inform their customers comprehensively.
The safety requirements and test methods of ÖNORM EN 71 take account of almost all aspects. Nevertheless, parents and other persons are not relieved of their duty of supervising children because accidents frequently happen when children get their hands on toys not intended for them.
When objects turn into toys
Children often prefer to play with everyday objects, such as cords of blinds rather than with their toys. The ÖNORMs EN 13120, EN 16433 and EN 16434 help manufacturers design and produce them in such a way that they do not give rise to hazards for children as well. Internal blinds, all safety devices (stoppers, tensioning and breakaway systems) as well as non-tangle systems are designed in such a way that they are safe for children and are tested accordingly. The solutions defined can be applied both to new internal blinds and to systems already installed.
To prevent falls from open windows, child-resistant locking devices can be fitted. ÖNORM EN 16281 defines the requirements and test methods for such locks that can be installed by consumers themselves.
ÖNORM EN 71 Safety of toys
ÖNORM EN 1273 Child use and care articles – Baby walking frames
ÖNORM EN 1888 Child care articles – Wheeled child conveyances
ÖNORM EN 13120 Internal blinds – Performance requirements including safety
ÖNORM EN 13209 Child use and care articles – Baby carriers
ÖNORM EN 16281 Child protective products – Consumer fitted child resistant locking devices for windows and balcony doors – Safety requirements and test methods
ÖNORM EN 16433 Internal blinds – Protection from strangulation hazards – Test methods
ÖNORM EN 16434 Internal blinds – Protection from strangulation hazards – Requirements and test methods for safety devices
ONR 2913387 Child use and care articles – Safety guidelines