Relevant for: Softlines, Toys & children's products
On 13 December, 2012, the European Commission (EC) has published on its website the new guidance on carnival costumes. This document expresses the views of the majority of members in expert group on toy safety on making distinction between toys and dress up products. Some official guidance is recommended for age evaluation of costumes within certain age groups. CEN report 14379 lists costumes, disguises and masks (intended to imitate) as toys for children below and above 36 months, depending on the size. The CPSC age determination guidelines lists information on dress-up materials and gives examples of costumes regarded as toys for children as of 12 months old.
Carnival costumes are products used to disguise and most children usually use them playing the corresponding character (e.g. cowboy, fireman, princess and doctor). If they are designed or intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years, they should be within the scope of Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC (TSD). Very young children in kindergarten and elementary school may also use the costumes in play. In addition, jewelry or accessories sold with toy disguise costumes and (imitation) jewelry to be assembled by the children themselves can be regarded as toys which they are for use in play.
However, carnival costumes for children aged or sized 1 year old and below should have no play value and should not have classified as toys, given their lack of awareness for the costumes they are wearing. In this case, General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) should be applicable. Toy carnival costumes for children have to comply with all essential requirements of the TSD, especially covered by standard EN 71-2 chapter 4.2 “Toys to be worn on the head” and chapter 4.3 “Toy disguise costumes and toys intended to be worn by a child in play”. Presumption of conformity is given by the references harmonised standards published under TSD.