Some “designer toys” are toys and some “designer toys” are decorative art.
If you are making toys that are accessible to children under the age of 14, even if you didn’t intend that young of an audience, then yes, you are obligated by the laws in the US and the UK/EU to have your product certified.
Toys, for children, must pass certification through testing, and the packaging will bear a mark that can only be added once the toy has been approved. This is an expensive and time consuming process and can not be avoided.
However, if you are an artist, making small run, limited series sculptures that are produced strictly for collectors over the age of 14 and intended for display only, you have some flexibility.
If you are selling your sculptures directly to your collectors on a one-on-one basis, it may be possible to not have any labeling on your packaging, but it wouldn’t hurt.
If you are selling your sculptures through a distributor or 3rd-party retail, you will want to make sure that your packaging is clearly marked with information that your product is decorative only and cannot be sold to children under the age of 14.
Please keep in mind that these notes are not intended to be legal advice, but rather a reporting on common practices by artists in the designer toy scene. It is strongly recommend that you contact your local regulatory association for specific information.
In the US – http://www.cpsc.gov/info/toysafety/index.html
In the EU – http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/toys/
If you’d like to make your own line of toys, we’d love to help you get the ball rolling.
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