The issue of what has to be considered a child-appealing design has always been an area of controversy for electrical appliances in Europe. A reason for this is that no clear mechanism exists for determining whether any particular design of electrical appliances has significant child-appealing characteristics. Moreover, at the beginning of the Joint Action, the standardization situation was unclear. The applicable clause in the standard for household appliances, EN 60335 series paragraph 22.44, could have been interpreted in different ways by different stakeholders. Because of this difficulty with conflicting interpretations, LVD-ADCO presented a Recommendation.
Thus, the need for a Joint Action was peremptory and thirteen EU market surveillance authorities joined the project under the co-ordination of PROSAFE.
The primary purpose was to create a common understanding among market surveillance authorities of the characteristics that may make household appliances child appealing. In addition, the project aimed at promoting a harmonised approach to the market surveillance and enforcement of the safety requirements for household appliances that may be child appealing.
The Final Implementation Report of this Joint Action is available and provides information about the activities undertaken, the participants involved, the results obtained and a financial statement comparing all expenditures against the budget. This project has been executed under the 2009 call for tender and the reporting requirements may differ from actions granted under the calls outlined in other years.
One of the tasks of the JA was the composition of an Inventory of Existing Statements on Child-appealing Appliances (part1, part2, part3, part4 and part5). The CAA working group created a questionnaire consisting of 65 questions that was further distributed to more than 300 directly addressed recipients.
The Atlas is the main deliverable of the project and is based upon discussions with representatives from LVD ADCO, stakeholders of LVD-WP, the work of the participating market surveillance authorities and on the Intertek research. It is important to notice that the ATLAS (frontpage) and the Tool, as submitted with the final report, are but drafts and have been superseded in the meantime. The latest versions of the Atlas and the Tool can be provided via the national market surveillance authorities, the chairman of LVD ADCO or the former project leader.
The ATLAS, along with the Tool, are non binding documents intended to provide guidance to Member States and stakeholders when making the distinction between those products to be treated as child appealing and those to be considered to not be child appealing. The ATLAS and the tool express the views of the majority of the LVD ADCO Group. The images appearing in the document must be interpreted as constituting examples intended to facilitate the decision-making process that the person undertaking the assessment will need to carry out. The images do not presuppose the conformity, or otherwise, of the represented products with the LVD, a risk assessment would need to be undertaken to determine that.
The guidance in the ATLAS, used with the tool, does not relieve the user from their obligation to determine for any individual product whether it falls within the definition of child appealing or not and, regardless of whether child appealing or not, whether it is compliant with the LVD or not. Based on the Union legislation, one must proceed on a case-by-case basis, taking account of all the characteristics of the product. Therefore, the ATLAS, used with the tool, does not “prescribe” whether a product is child appealing or not, but may serve as one out of many elements used to support the case-by-case decision on individual products.