Not all indoor climbing products are created equal!
The ‘Pikler’ climbing theory over the past few years has become increasingly popular and many products have recently entered the market. We think this is great as it ultimately leads to more kids developing skills through this type of play. However, since indoor climbing involves ‘adventurous’ play we need to be careful about what we buy – the influx of new products especially in 2021/2022 has brought with it and increased the risk of unsafe and untested products. When we initially started designing and researching in 2017 there were a handful of options available in the UK at the time. All followed the traditional design and none had passed the the full range of EN71 tests that an ‘activity toy’ requires. Some still don’t; let that sink in.
Importance of Toy Testing – Why is it essential to ensure toys comply with safety standards?
Play is not risk free – but we can mitigate for most of the hazards that children are exposed to whilst playing. Safety standards are there to ensure that toys meet strict safety criteria regarding hazardous materials, choking, strangulation, burning, poison and so on. Skipping safety testing has become especially widespread in online retail.
The (2021) annual British Toy and Hobby Association research of Toys sold online found that:
• 88% of toys tested were illegal to sell in the UK
• 48% of toys tested were unsafe for a child to play with
• 69% of recalled toys have seemingly identical products still for sale.
Stats from the BTHA find 2021 report here.
Many illegal and dangerous toys are sold in the UK without being tested so it’s vital to look out for the following features when you shop:
• Look for the CE symbol and UKCA mark – this is a claim by the manufacturer that the toy meets regulatory requirements.
• Make sure it’s CE marked EN71 parts 1,2, 3 and especially part 8. Part 8 is sadly left out by many manufacturers.
A few alarm bells:
• Over 60cm – unless anchored to the ground or wall – stability risk and head and neck entrapment over 60cm.
• Slide/Ramp not securely fitted – to ensure product does not fall on a child in active play.
• Be wary of the phrase ‘we’ve tested it, it takes over 50kg’ yes, it may well do, but that does not mean it has passed stability requirements – the bottom line – has it passed load and stability testing, not one or the other, they go hand in hand.
We hope this helps you with what to look out for when shopping for your indoor climbing frame. Here at Triclimb we can be certain that our toys have been tested thoroughly as they are all independently laboratory tested. Read about our recent experience here.
Image credit: Kristina Amelie