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How to choose a safe toy for your child?

Let’s start from the beginning 🙂 The mission of skiddoü is to make the little ones and the big ones smile. There is no division here about the fact that children are the most important, because this is a concept created with them in mind. Skiddoü is a brand for parents and children. Everyone is equally important in this concept. Is this what you wanted?

There is no clear, concrete division, because the child is the unit that functions best in the family and we could not afford to separate who is more important. We are just companions standing by, who want to support the parental everyday life, giving reasons to be happy for both the youngest and the older ones. It all comes down to the child’s smile, because it is the most important thing for parents. But to make them smile it is not enough to use only unique, safe and high quality products. We need moments of togetherness, fun and interaction, and that is what parents have to take care of. Sometimes gently pushed by us.

Where do you get the idea for inspiration in Scandinavian culture? Is it a personal approach to the hygge philosophy? Or maybe the trouble of finding something different, more qualitative on the market?

Inspiration is best found in places where the level of happiness, both in children and adults, is the highest. We take the best from the philosophy of Scandinavian countries – we are inspired by Swedish safety, taking care of quality, we help to achieve Norwegian harmony, close to nature, we want to educate in the spirit of the Finnish education system, and beautify your everyday life according to the Danish hygge philosophy. All to support parents. Each of the Scandinavian countries provides us with role models to implement in everyday life. In addition, we want to get away from bright colors, flashy rooms, etc., showing that there is room for design and harmony in parenting and childhood.

I also know from professional experience how much time and attention must be devoted to really ensuring product safety. When you created the skiddoü concept, did you realize that going through the directives and procedures would be a huge part of this?

We were certainly aware of how difficult a process it is to market products that will comply with the legal requirements (standards, directives, regulations) applicable to them.

At the first stage of the project (over 2 years ago), a quality department was created, consisting of 5 people who had experience in this matter. The company did not stop at just the experience of the team – it expanded their knowledge by sending them to numerous training courses and seminars.

We care very much about the safety of our products and therefore, before they hit the market, they have to undergo a 7-step verification process. Sometimes this process takes even 2 years. We do not care about a quick introduction of a product. We want to make sure that it is safe and that the end user will stay with us for a longer period of time, recommending us to their relatives. 

Before a product reaches the store, it is carefully checked. First we verify the suppliers of components, raw materials and products. Once a product passes an audit performed by an external laboratory, it comes under the scrutiny of our quality department. We check all tests, certificates and other documents. We carefully review the product for compliance with applicable standards and other legislation. When we are satisfied, we send it for verification to an external, accredited laboratory to confirm our initial testing.

Of course, not only the legal aspects are important to us… The opinion of a potential customer is also important. That is why we test products together with parents and their children to make them as functional as possible. When all the lights go on green, production begins – and it is also controlled. We verify the components and the goods, again using an external laboratory. Once the finished products arrive at our warehouse, they are again verified by our internal quality department, and randomly sent to the lab for testing.  Such a detailed process allows us to do everything we can to make sure the products are safe. We are parents ourselves and know how important this is. 

skiddoü isn’t just about toys. It’s a brand with a whole range of products that are needed from the very first days. Was the idea to create a brand that would allow parents to tick off their layette list in one place, and at the same time be assured that there is excellent quality and safety behind it all?

The assumption is – to be a companion in everyday life – both parent’s and child’s. And to be a companion means to provide comprehensive solutions in every aspect of life – during walks, bathing, playing, feeding and other situations.

A gem product – is there one? Do you have such an eye-catcher in your offerings?

Every product has a story. We put a lot of effort into creating each one, and it’s hard to say in general whether we have our “eye in the head”. Probably if you asked each employee individually, you would find many pearls, favorite products of that person, but we can’t collectively say that we are particularly proud of any of them. It’s our kids – and kids are always loved the same way 😊 Coming at it from the side of our brand hero – it’s the skiddoü. A mascot straight from Scandinavia presented as an embodiment of the values we value.

How to choose a safe toy for my child? CE marking and other safety standards

This is the first thing to look out for when choosing a toy. This mark is a manufacturer’s declaration that the toy complies with the requirements for such products. Lack of appropriate marking should raise doubts, because in all likelihood the manufacturer has not made a proper assessment in this regard.

It is not mandatory to mark the conformity of a toy with the harmonized standard PN-EN 71, but increasingly such marking can also be found on products. Below you will find examples of what the individual regulations specify:

  • requirements and test methods for mechanical and physical properties of toys;
  • Categories of flammable materials prohibited for use in all toys, and flammability requirements for certain toys;
  • requirements and test methods for migration of certain elements from toy materials and components (mostly for painted toys);
  • requirements and test methods for activity toys intended for domestic use.

What should the manufacturer label on the package?

Manufacturers are required to label certain information on each package or leaflet that comes with the toy:

  • manufacturer’s name;
  • Registered name or trademark;
  • contact address;
  • in case of import also importer’s data.

A very important issue is the marking of the child’s age. Apart from the fact that it is good to trust the specialists and really marking the age limit is important for his/her developmental capabilities and the possibility of using the given product, the most important issue here is the matter of safety.

Particularly important here is the symbol “0-3” and the warning “Not suitable for children under 36 months”, to which is added a graphic sign. The manufacturer should also point out potential hazards, such as: small parts, long cord, strangulation hazard.

It is also worth noting that the manufacturer does not need to include this warning if the toy is not intended for such a small audience for obvious functional reasons, e.g. chemistry experiment sets, microscope etc.

How to Choose a Safe Toy for Your Child? Commercial Inspection in the process of evaluating toy safety

Trade Inspection is an institution that may inspect the safety of products, including toys. Such control is based on a detailed examination of the product in terms of requirements imposed on toy manufacturers by law. Laboratory tests are also carried out.

If the testing process shows that a toy does not meet the requirements, the Trade Inspection may require withdrawal of the batch of the product from the market, improve the product in a specified range, or impose a penalty on entrepreneurs.

It is also worth knowing that the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection maintains a register of dangerous products in which you can check whether the product you are buying is not listed. The register is available HERE

In Poland, regular inspections of toys have been carried out for years. Each year several thousand products are checked by inspectors. Recently a report has appeared, concerning the third quarter of 2020 and the inspection of climbing toys. Who among us does not have a tent at home for Children.

Controls showed reservations with regard to the construction of products in a small number of cases (2 tents were questioned in this regard), but in 70% of cases the marking of products did not meet the requirements specified by law. These markings are important because they tell the correct way to use, the age of the child necessary to use the toy, etc. As you can see, however, manufacturers often do not care about these issues. It is therefore worth making all purchases very consciously, putting safety first. On the market, you can find brands for which it is not quantity but quality that comes first, for which safety is a much higher measure than the costs associated with research and testing. Thank you so much to the skiddoü brand for sharing their unique idea of products for little ones that are also enjoyed by big ones.

Article written in cooperation with Marzena Pilarz-Herzyk, author of the blog Mama Prawniczka

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