When starting out an event business and hiring out sleepover dens, you need to make sure all the equipment you are buying is safe for children to use and also you need to ensure that your sleepover dens are fully compliant to the latest rules and regulations. This is an absolute must!

Find out below what to look for and what sort of questions you need to ask to make sure the money you are spending will bring you back the return you want to make your business successful.

Why do sleepover dens need to be tested?

Sleepover dens are classed as toys and because of this they need to carry the correct legislation to ensure they are legal. The Toy Safety Regulations 2011 were updated at the end of 2020 and stricter chemical tests were introduced. You can find more information about this here.

As they are a toy which will be played inside of, by a child, and indeed slept in, dens need to undergo further tests than say a doll or building blocks.

Sleepover dens need to carry the UKCA mark, in the UK, and the CE mark in the European Union. In order to be able to carry this mark the manufacturer of the dens needs to have gone through a series of tests in order to prove that the dens are safe.

So, how do manufacturers go about testing their dens?

There are a number of manufacturers out there who purchase conformity documents from different companies online and complete some of the testing themselves, however, we at Magical Spaces believe that it is always best to get the testing done by professionals. Because of this, we use a testing house called MTS who are based in Leeds, but there are a number of different testing houses throughout the country.

There are three aspects of testing which need to be completed:

EN71 – 1- Mechanical and Physical Properties

EN71 – 2 – Flammability

EN71 – 3 – Chemical Migration

EN71 – 1- Mechanical and Physical Properties

This part checks the general all round safety of the toy. Are there any aspects which could cause harm? Are there any parts which could be swallowed? Could it collapse?

The testing houses perform over 30 tests to eliminate the long list of hazards that can arise with a product, this includes being trapped inside a den.

Magical Spaces dens are tested for Part 1 as a whole. This is why it is not possible to use our frames with covers from a different company or vice versa, and also why you can not make your own covers either.

When buying new dens – ensure, from the manufacturer, that this is the case, as sometimes the manufacturer may test the frame OR the cover and NOT both together.

EN71 – 2 – Flammability

Every component of a den needs to be tested for flammability. We send each and every component, including the inserts and the sewing thread, to the testing house and check that nothing can cause additional harm should it accidentally catch fire.

EN71 – 3 – Chemical Migration

This test CAN NOT be done at home and MUST be sent to a testing house. Certificates can be purchased online for some materials.

Again, we send every component of the den for testing. If different colours of fabric are used – we have to test the different colours, patterns etc. Manufacturers can adopt due diligence if they have had a variety of colours tested from the same range and all colours have passed previous testing.

This test has recently updated the levels of certain chemicals which need to be tested so therefore it is important that any new products have been updated to these levels.

Where to find more information?

An excellent website to find out more about toy safety and the UKCA mark is found here. They offer excellent advice for consumers and manufacturers around the requirements of toy safety.

Magical Spaces are very proud to be a member of the UKCA Collective on the website above.

Gov.uk is also an excellent website to find information and if you were to Google UKCA then you would find a number of websites offering helpful advice.

What should I look for when I am buying new dens?

First and foremost, make sure the dens hold the UKCA mark for THE FULL DEN.

Some companies, as mentioned above, state that the frames hold the mark, or more often than not, the covers. Ask the manufacturer if the mark is for the whole product.

You should always ask to have a copy of the Declaration of Conformity for your dens. Your insurance company and even the local council may wish to see a copy of this prior to you starting your business.

Ask for advice.

Most manufacturers are really good at offering advice and help to those just starting out. There are also a number of support groups on social media where you can ask existing sleepover business owners for their recommendations.

We at Magical Spaces pride ourselves on offering honest, helpful support and advice to anyone, be it the general public, new business owners or existing ones. We would also like to recommend this Facebook Page for more information.

We hope you have found this helpful and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.