Deputi Bidang Informasi dan Pemasyarakatan Standardisasi
Indonesia's most precious resource are children. But as every parent knows, children lack the skills to protect themselves. It is the respon¬sibility of adults to safeguard and teach them to be safe. Child safety standards also help protect them against risks that may ruin their lives.
As consumers of products, children encounter a staggering array of choice. Companies compete to fulfil their con¬sumer preferences in designs, formats, colours and packaging. For instance, many toys employ relatively sophisticated technologies such as remote controls, ro¬botic functions and electronics that mimic talking and singing. These toys are avail¬able at reasonable prices in any number of retail outlets.
But toys designed to be interesting in form, colour and function, as well as colouring materials and paints, can be hazardous to children. Most consumers, however, give litlle thought to where toys are manufactured, focusing instead on whether their children enjoy playing with them.
Yet Indonesia has seen any number of cases that call into question the safety of products and sweets (candy) and toys are among the highest concerns. Recently, it was discovered that sweets containing drugs had been consumed by children in the country, many of whom became ill as a result. And while all children like toys, many of the latter do not meet the require¬ments of standards.
Safe fun and sweets
Toys should fulfil safety, security and health requirements to avoid negative physical or mental impacts on children. Parents must be selective in choosing toys that are free of dangerous substances.
But child safety is the responsibility not only of parents, but also of indus¬try, including food producers and toy manufacturers. Their products should be safe for children and meet standards and regulations.
In many countries, toys arc strictly controlled by public authorities. The Eu¬ropean Union, for instance, applies re¬quirements mechanisms through F,N 71-1:2001, Safety of toys. Mechanical and physical properties, and EN 50088:1996, Safety of electric toys.
ISO continues to develop toy safety standards through ISO technical com¬mittee 1SO/TC 181, Safety of toys. In addition ISO, in cooperation with the International Electrotechnical Commis¬sion (1EC), developed the ISO/IEC Guide 50:2002, Safety aspects - Guidelines for child safety, as an umbrella document for all technical committees.
The toy safety standards have been adopted by Argentina, Australia, Bra¬zil, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, the European Union, Hong Kong (China), Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and the USA.
In Indonesia, a number of national standards have been adopted by the ISO member for the country, the National Standardization Agency (BSN). Among them, standards targeting sweet candy have been revised lo reflect the latest eco¬nomic, social, scientific and technological developments.
The results are SNI 01-3547.1:2008, Hard sweet candy, and SNT 3547.2: 2008, Soft sweet candy. Another proposed standard for bubble gum is currently in balloting. Indonesia has also endorsed SNI 12-6527.1-4:2001, Standards on safe products for children, which deals with raw materials and additives used in products.
Inspection and testing
All standards endorsed by BSN are used as references in trade. BSN encour¬ages industry to adhere to standards for the selection of raw materials, additives, designs, electrical security, noise, metal contents, hazardous elements and label¬ling. The organization also works to en¬sure that inspection and testing units are up-to-date so that goods placed on the market are safe for children.
BSN has conducted research on toy. safety aimed at verifying that toys mar¬keted in particular geographic locations, such as Jakarta, meet the specifications set by standards. The results of this research show that only 63 % of toys pro¬duced fulfil the requirements of SNT standards.
BSN has also developed programmes to make children aware of the importance of standards, including a version of the game "snakes and ladders" and a poster entitled, " Standards around us ". Painting contests have been held to promote standards for children and lo teach chil¬dren about standards in early education. More standards on food and toys are still under development. The govern¬ment of Indonesia is considering endorserment of mandatory child safety standards through regulation. (Majalah Internasional Standarisasi/humasristek)