The current version of EN 71-1:2014+A1:2018 is mandatory since April 15, 2020 and includes changes to the requirements for cords. In this Toys Update we will review some of those changes.
Cords Definition EN 71-1
A cord is defined as a “narrow piece of flexible textile or non-textile material of which the length is significantly greater than its thickness and width. Examples of cords include elastic material, monofilament polymeric material, tape, ribbon, rope, strap, woven and twisted material and string as well as certain weak and long springs."
The definition is quite straightforward but may become more complex when it comes to very wide and very long straps. It has not been possible to define exact measurements of thickness and width simply because additional factors like flexibility and structure define whether a cord may go around a child’s neck. The aim of the requirements are to prevent children being strangled by cords.
Cords Attached to Disguise Costumes
Most requirements for cords relate to toys for young children, under the age of 3 years. The main risk is that children roll into a cord, become entangled and cannot get loose. For toy disguise costumes another hazard needs to be considered. This hazard is related to what we call “forced movement”. Children can be strangled by a cord when sliding down a slide if the cord becomes caught in part of the structure or if a cord is caught by a moving bus. Such risks need to be avoided by compliance to standard EN 14682: Safety of children's clothing – Cords and drawstrings on children's clothing – Specifications. There is one exception, for cords that are very loosely attached (max 25N). Those cords would break and not pose an entrapment hazard.
There is a new requirement that addresses the risk of two cords attached to a toy entangling around the neck of a child under 3 years of age. One way to assess this risk is by applying a cylinder with a 60 mm diameter. The two cords should not be able to make contact when wrapped around the cylinder and as such form a tangle around a child’s neck.
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