Following damaging media attention around children’s dress-up, we convened our members to adopt a considered and consistent approach to the issue of flammability of children’s dressing up outfits.
A Rapid Action Team was formed of member experts creating new BRC guidelines for labelling and testing. The production of guidance in technical areas is an approach we have used before to great success.
Manufacturers, Childrenswear Associations, Toy Associations and other experts were consulted to ensure better-informed decisions could be made. Early on, changes to labelling requirements were agreed that would make consumers more aware of the risks of dress-up and fire.
Leading flammability testing experts were engaged to collaboratively assess testing methods available globally. The aim was to try and identify an improved way of testing dress-up outfits to ensure they were safer than the minimum required by the existing regulatory standard.
BRC members and testing labs met to discuss the issue and formed the joint conclusion that addressing the shortcomings of the existing EN71-2 Toy Testing Flammability Standard was the best way to progress. The experts at the labs proposed changes and these were agreed with BRC members and became the foundation of the new standard.
We presented the methodology to the BSI Technical Committee for Toys to suggest a review of the existing standard was required. This was agreed, and we were commended in achieving a result and implementing change in such a short period of time.
The UK experts agreed that the anomalies identified by our work needed to be addressed. A recent recommendation to review the standard was made by the BSI to CEN, the European Standards body. This has also been agreed. The BRC testing methodology will be put forward as a replacement for the existing standard with work commencing in September 2016.
There are two voluntary codes of practice available to download for free: one for labelling and one for testing. In common with all our standards, we will constantly monitor and update them as required to ensure they remain industry-leading and offer value to members.