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Entry 51 and 52 of Annex XVII to REACH - Phthalates in toys and childcare articles

Can mattress protectors (covers, pads etc.) be placed in the mouth by children within the meaning of Entries 51 and 52 of Annex XVII?

The guidance document contains an example of a mattress cover that is not directly mouthable in normal and foreseeable use conditions. The edges and corner are not accessible for mouthing by the child – by design (the mattress should fit snugly in the cot to avoid entrapment risks), and the mattress is covered with a sheet in normal use and the surface is sufficiently taut (by design – to avoid suffocation risks) to prevent PVC from being mouthed through the sheet. This is based on the observation that inaccessible parts of articles can not be taken into the mouth. Articles or parts of articles should be considered inaccessible if, during proper use or reasonably foreseeable improper use by children, they can not be reached. However, there will be other cases when parts of certain articles can be taken into the mouth under normal and foreseeable conditions, for example when the mattress protector is placed on the sheet or cannot be completely fixed. In conclusion, mattress protectors that can be placed above sheets or that cannot be tightly fixed to the mattress have to comply with the restriction contained in entry 52 of Annex XVII to REACH. Authorities competent for market surveillance should assist manufacturers/importers in making a case-by-case assessment on the basis of the criteria described above and in the guidance document.

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