In July 2021, the CEN published a new European standard, EN 17191: 2021, concerning seating for children.
In accordance with the rules, European National Standard organizations bound to CEN/CENELEC shall give this European Standard the status of a national standard and conflicting national standards must be withdrawn by January 2022 at the latest.
This European standard covers seating specifically intended for children who are able to walk and sit by themselves, including both domestic and non-domestic use.
Seating in educational institutions is excluded from the scope of this European Standard, as they are already covered by EN 1729 parts 1 and 2.
Requirements of the standard aim to improve the safety of seating intended for children, taking into account the hazards listed in the Decision of the European Commission 2013/121/EU and the Commission Implementing Decision M/527 of 22.7.2014.
- Requirements on the migration of heavy metals are defined, according to toy safety standard EN71-3: 2019 +A1: 2021
- To reduce fire hazards, accessible textile materials should not produce a surface flash according to toy safety standard EN71-2: 2020
For the purposes of the standard, seating has been categorized into three sizes which determines the application of some specific requirements (size 1) and the level of strength, durability, and strength tests.
Informative indications on ages are given as follows, but there is no obligation to mark or limit the use of seating to any of these age limits:
- Size 1 includes seating intended for the youngest children, up to three years of age (approximately)
- Size 2 covers the age range four to seven years
- Size 3 covers seating for users up to 14 years of age
The size is determined by the height of the seat, measured from the ground or any footrest.
General safety requirements are defined for all sizes such as:
- Requirements on edges, corners and points
- Requirements on gaps, openings and V-Shape openings, to avoid entrapment hazards
- Requirements on locking mechanisms are introduced to prevent hazards from the sudden collapse of a product, with specific requirements and tests for deckchairs
- Provisions for enclosures, that take into account the requirements of toy safety standard EN71-1
- In cases where magnets are used, they are required to meet the conditions set forth in EN71-1, and the use of glass is forbidden
- Requirements for packaging, in the form of a minimum thickness of plastic packaging is given and a warning sentence
Additional safety conditions are given for size 1 seating:
- To prevent strangulation hazards from cords and loops relevant requirements have been introduced to limit the length or the perimeter of such elements
- Suffocation hazards from plastic sheeting are limited by specific requirements on the attachment of any plastic decals or labels
- Choking and ingestion hazards happen when small parts can be detached and swallowed by a child, or if the filling material is accessible. Requirements are provided to ensure any potential small parts resist torque and tension tests. To address the accessibility of filling materials accessibility, requirements are in place to ensure seams and closures of mattress covers will resist normal use and prevent access to the filling material. Cover textile material, slide fasteners and seams are tested against strength and slippage
Strength, durability, and stability are assessed by applying a sequence of different static and cycling tests to different components of seating such as seat and backrest, armrests and legs.
Two levels of tests are foreseen which take into account the age and weight of the children the seating is intended for and referring to sizes. The forces applied however take into consideration adults or older children who may also use the product occasionally.
The required product information has been developed in order to highlight essential warnings and safety information and to ensure clear legibility for consumers.
The EU standard for seating, EN 17191:2021, can be used as a voluntary standard to show compliance to the General Product Safety Directive, and it is offered for citation into the EU Official Journal.
Please note that for the UK and EU Member State countries where national legislation exists the national legislation should be followed.
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