Publication Date Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Richard Gottlieb of Global Toy News interviewed Susan DeRagon of UL Consumer and Retail Services about the Toy Safety Certification Mark. Please see below for the interview.
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Toy Safety Certification Mark Interview:
“Fully two-thirds of people questioned recognized the UL safety certification mark. The company’s decision to award its seal of approval to toys it deems safe is therefore a notable moment for the toy and toy safety industries. In order to find out more I spoke with Susan DeRagon, Senior Technical Consultant of the Toys and Children’s Product Group.
Susan is an active member of the Toy Industry Association and ASTM International, participating on several toy and children’s product standards committees. She also served on the Board of Directors for ICPHSO, the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization.
Why is UL, famous for its safety mark for electricity and fire safety, now placing its UL Certification mark of approval on toys?
As a global safety science company, UL brings clarity to the marketplace and empowers trust to support the responsible design, production, and marketing of goods and services. We have been involved in the consumer products industry for many years, with a focus on the toy safety industry since As a global safety science company, UL brings clarity to the marketplace and empowers trust to support the responsible design, production, and marketing of goods and services. We have been involved in the consumer products industry for many years, with a focus on the toy safety industry since 2011.
With the introduction of the UL Toy Safety Certification Mark, we expect the program to help promote a more consistent set of practices throughout manufacturers’ supply chains and bring safer, higher quality toys to market.
What goes into getting a UL toy certification mark and how is it different than getting safety approval from other providers?
Our program requires compliance with the federally mandated ASTM F963-16 standard. In addition, we provide added supply chain risk management through periodic product testing and inspection of randomly-selected samples, facility quality audits and quality control inspections, and follow-up service inspections. Upon successful completion of all the program requirements, manufacturers, brands, retailers and suppliers will be allowed to place the UL Mark on applicable toys, gaining the immediate trust of US consumers.
What does having a certification mark mean to the consumer and does it enhance consumer confidence?
The mark absolutely enhances consumer confidence. Toys in today’s market are already safe, but we are aiming to heighten the credibility of manufacturers, brands and retailers in the U.S. market by helping to ensure that toy manufacturing is consistent and compliant throughout production. The majority of toy recalls are toys that meet regulatory requirements. UL’s Toy Safety Certification program provides heightened credibility through robust testing requirements, quality management systems audit and ongoing product inspections before the mark is applied to the product during the manufacturing process. All of these elements exceed federally mandated requirements for toy safety. Three out of 4 U.S. consumers are familiar with the UL Mark on product packaging. If a consumer looks at a toy and sees a UL Mark they will likely place more trust in that product because they understand that the mark represents third-party safety assessment of the highest quality.
What value is there for the manufacturer and retailer, other than consumer recognition?
With the expansion of the toy industry comes ever-greater supply chain complexity, and the industry is increasing its focus on the safety of its manufacturing production and supply chain processes. For manufacturers and retailers, greater visibility into their product supply chains, including the ability to conduct real-time supply chain audits and inspections, can help boost levels of trust in their products in the marketplace.
Who should a reader contact if they are interested?
Please contact Loretta Tam at Loretta.email@example.com for additional information on UL’s Toy Safety Certification Mark.
We always like to end with this question: Do you have any toys in your office?
Of course! I have old and new toys, safe toys and toys that have been recalled. And I have pictures of my and my colleagues children and grandchildren – a daily reminder of why we do what we do – to protect our children.”