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Why does my product have child safety warnings? Hi, I’m Steve from Tawny Barn. I make a range of arts and crafts supplies, mostly laser-cut shapes, some router-cut, plywood, and MDF. They are clearly craft supplies. They’re not toys. But when I put them on a market stall, children are attracted to them. To use the correct trading standards description, my products are “child-appealing”. Anything that’s child-appealing must conform to the toy safety standards. Even if they’re not toys, which my products aren’t, some of the smaller items are potentially a choking hazard to a young child. They’re strong enough for their purpose, but actually a child biting them could bite parts off and potentially do themselves serious harm. So according to the safety standard, EN 71, all my shapes are labeled “not suitable for children under three”.


That makes perfect sense. When I sent my product to trading standards, asked them to assess the child safety, let me know what I have to do, what labeling I needed, I expected that. That’s why I sent the product for assessment. I was very surprised when they also told me that my inert harmless pieces of wood also need to be chemically tested. To be sure that if you touch the surface of the product, no chemicals are transferred across onto your hands. Plywood went to the lab, a week later tested, passed the test, no problem at all. So my products are safe, tested, and assessed suitable for all children over three years old.


MDF was a different story. I asked the lab to test the MDF. No point, they said. MDF, we’ve done it before, we’ve got the experience of this. MDF will not pass the chemical tests. So I can only sell MDF products to adults. Artists and crafters buy lots of MDF. There’s lots of people who prefer MDF. The smooth surface is easier to paint. But before MDF is handled by children, it should be sealed with paint or varnish. So there’s no risk of the resins, after the glue, transferring from the MDF onto children’s hands.

Plywood products are available on my website and on my market stall, for all the family. MDF is sold to adults, artists and crafters. Trade customers who run arts and crafts businesses. If you’d like to see the range of my products, there’s an online store, shop all this lots of example photos of how other people have used my products.