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Hampshire Trading Standards

Projectile toys - Important information for the toy trade

This advice is designed to provide basic guidance to traders. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law.

Picture of projectile toy

This guide has been produced to highlight some of the potential hazards associated with projectile toys. In recent years there have been a number of child deaths in Sweden, the USA and the UK caused by children above the age of three years choking on projectiles.


Suction Cups

  • Suction cups affixed to projectile toys are intended for securing the projectile to a surface.
  • Sticking and unsticking projectiles leads to repeated stress at the interface between the suction cup and the projectile.
  • Children above three years old often bring suction cups to their mouths to moisten the cups so that they stick better to the intended impact surface. If the suction cup is not properly secured, it is foreseeable that it could detach during normal or foreseeable use.
  • If a suction cup becomes detached and enters the mouth, it could block the airway at the back of the mouth and upper throat and potentially cause suffocation or asphyxiation.

European Standard

The European Standard for toy safety, EN 71, specifies the following requirements for projectiles:

Picture of projectile toy

The minimum permitted length for projectiles with a suction cup is 57mm (see left).

Picture of projectile toy

When fired, projectiles with resilient impact surfaces, e.g. rubber, must not exceed a kinetic energy of 0.5J.  

Rigid projectiles without sucker ends (e.g. an arrow where the sucker end has become detached) must not exceed a kinetic energy of 0.08J.

If a projectile, exceeding the kinetic energies specified above, hit another child in the eye, it could potentially cause serious damage or loss of the eye.

Suction cups should not detach, (see right), when subjected to a torque test, 90 Newton tension test, drop and impact tests, and if they do detach, they should not fit through the suction cups template as specified in the standard.

Toys that do not meet these standards will be regarded as unsafe and failing the Toy (Safety) Regulations.



Reviewed November 2010

B/saf/128/002 September 2009

Picture of projectile toy

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