Toy compliance: best practices to save time and stress

In the current landscape, uncertainty is still impacting many companies worldwide and the toy industry is no different. While some brands are thriving, many are facing unprecedented disruption levels, suffering from the effects of a reduced qualified workforce, delayed shipments, unsteady demand, and increased pressure to accelerate their time to market. One of the primary concerns these companies share is ensuring their products’ compliance, with chemical risks remaining one of the most problematic areas.

Chemical risk alerts on toys continue to be prominent each year, with the identification of many banned chemicals that pose serious risks to children’s health. Similar to previous years, in 2019, 47% of alerts about toys in Europe (RAPEX) indicated a chemical risk. One of the more common risks observed for the past few years has been the presence of phthalates in the plastics used to make dolls.


Source: RAPEX 2019

In this challenging context, where compliance challenges meet time to market pressures, anticipating and preventing these risks is crucial.

How can we ensure compliance while improving time to market?
Travel restrictions and numerous logistical and production uncertainties are adding additional pressure to supply chains and slowing down some of their processes. Validating samples has become a lengthier process in many cases. With many brands’ in-house teams unable to be onsite due to travel restrictions, a great deal of time is being spent in back-and-forth exchanges between factories and brands.

One of the most feared – and too-common – moments is being surprised with a ‘FAIL’ result in a pre-shipment test at the last minute, when timelines are tight.

Continuing the plastic dolls example, how can a brand anticipate risks and avoid this significant issue right before the shipment? The answer is simple: to anticipate risks as early as possible.

Instead of testing the PVC doll, brands and retailers can move upstream to, for example, track and test the PVC input and ensure it’s coming from an approved source. Where do the pellets originate? Who is the plastic supplier? This means taking a step back to evaluate the supplier’s performance based on the finished product and their processes and materials.

At API, we can help brands and retailers shorten their time to market with our onsite support and remote solutions, acting on behalf of brands onsite and guiding in-house teams remotely with our technical expertise. Our experts in Asia and Europe act as bridges between brand teams and factories, connecting your unique requirements with technical teams in the local language.

Some of our expert solutions for toys along the entire supply chain include:

Interested in learning more about our toy solutions?