Dummy Clips.You see them around all the time; your little one may even have a few. But just how safe are they?
Contrary to what may be written on-line, dummy clips are not actually illegal in the UK. However that doesn't mean that every dummy clip sold in the UK is safe and legal, and this is where you’ll need to be careful.
Strict EU regulations surround the design and manufacture of dummy clips: BSEN 12586:2007 to be precise. It’s a long document and, rather sadly, it's been my bedtime reading on many occasions!
I know pretty well the characteristics a dummy clip should have in order to meet the required safety standards, and am confident spotting those which don’t.
Unfortunately, all it takes is a quick look at the local selling pages on Facebook to find an array of potentially dangerous and therefore illegal dummy clips available to buy.
However, as a parent looking to buy a dummy clip, you probably wouldn't know what to look for, so here's a little help to explain some of the things the regulations cover and the what you can check for.
Put simply, a dummy clip should not be longer than 22cm (this doesn't include the actual clip which attaches to the clothing).
Having designed and had tested a range of dummy clips for Pretty Little Polka Dot, I know they cannot be any longer than 22cm and be legal and safe. So, if you are ever asked ‘how long do you want your dummy clip to be’ or you see dummy clips more than 22cm long, they definitely would not have been made safely, or legally.
Perhaps a more difficult one to gauge, especially if you are looking online or you don’t carry 10kg weights around with you to craft fayres!
10kg is pretty heavy (imagine one of the massive sacks of potatoes) And in order to meet this part of the regulations, a dummy Clip needs to withstand just shy of 10kg being hung off it without it snapping or breaking.
Babies and toddlers are not known for being particularly gentle with their belongings, and dummy clips have to pass strict impact resistance tests to make sure they stand up against their little owners. These impact resistance tests would need to be carried out in a Laboratory under test conditions.
If you have a dummy clip in your hands, bits should definitely not come loose and fall off, even if you throw it against a wall or step on it! If it does break, it would be highly unlikely to survive a laboratory’s impact resistance testing and would therefore be unsafe.
Ironically, it’s a pretty big part of the regulations in terms of safety. Babies put things in their mouths; we all know this. And the big-wigs who came up with the EU regulations know this too. That’s why any parts deemed small enough to cause a choking hazard have to be securely attached so they do not fall off, snap, or break when tested for strength and impact resistance (see my last 2 points).
Generally, small parts include things like the clip, as well as any beads or attachments.
Small parts should, under no circumstances be attached with glue - that’s a definite no-no! (Sadly, I see this a lot.)
All dummy clips need to have specific warnings published either on, or in, the packaging. If a dummy clip you are looking to buy is loose; perhaps it’s in a big bowl at a craft fayre with lots of others, or you buy one which arrives with no safety information, alarm bells should definitely ring.
This list above is by no means exhaustive and there are many more things a seller has to do in order to meet the safety standards. There's chemical testing of the materials used, and provision for ventilation holes to name just a few. And if the dummy clip has a cartoon character on or presents any ‘play appeal’, it'll need to adhere to Toy Safety Regulations as well as the dummy clip regulations!
The only real way you can be sure of the safety of a dummy clip is to check that it's been designed, tested and made to the EU safety regulation BSEN12586:2007. It would need to say this on the packaging.
If however, you are looking online, my advice would be to ask the seller before you buy, what regulations their dummy clips adhere to. If they reply saying they're safe as ‘their own child has one’, or that they ‘pull it a bit to check it’s strong enough’, then you can be pretty certain that those Clips have been made without the appropriate strict safety standards being followed. These would not only be illegal to sell, but are likely to be unsafe too.
An extra note about beaded dummy clips...
I often see the beaded variety of dummy clips being sold online. Usually they're made from small plastic beads and sometimes have sparkly embellishments hanging off them. I get asked quite regularly whether I can produce clips of this type, and I have to say no.
Knowing what I know about the rules, I cannot see beaded dummy clips such as these being able to pass all of the requirements in the safety regulations. The risks are a lot higher with this type of clip too, as if they fail the tests, you'll probably be left with lots of small beads which would be a choking hazard. All the more reason to do the checks before you buy.
Pretty Little Polka Dot offer a range of Dummy Clips which comply with the regulations discussed in this post. Please feel free to check them out.
I hope you’ve found this useful and would love to hear what you think.