Derby City Council Trading Standards warn of unsafe toys being bought online

Published: 24 November 2020

Council House at night

Derby City Council trading Standards team are urging shoppers to watch out for unsafe toys for sale over Black Friday and the Christmas period.

This year, shoppers may be relying on digital retailers such as Amazon, eBay and Ali Express more than ever, however research from the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) has found a number of illegal and dangerous toys for sale.

The BTHA conducted a test on 100 toys sourced from these marketplaces, with the results showing that 60% of toys tested had safety failures while 86% were illegal to sell in the UK. This marks an increase on last years findings of 22% and 58% respectively.

One of the most common breaches are toys with small parts that are a choking hazard to under-3s, as well as small button batteries that could be easily removed by young children and cause serious complications if swallowed.

The BTHA have launched a campaign, ‘Don’t toy with children’s safety’, which calls for a review of the current law to ensure that online marketplaces are accountable for the products purchased through their site.

When buying for children, consumers should bear in mind the following 12 tips, especially over the festive period.

  1. Look for the CE symbol: This means the manufacturer has assessed the toy for safety. Find the symbol on the label or box.
  2. Check it’s for children: Festive novelties can look like toys. Keep them away from children.
  3. Reputation matters: Check the suppliers who have a good reputation for safe and reliable toys. They’ll have good safety standards and refund policies.
  4. Button battery safety: Christmas toys may have button batteries - which can prove lethal if ingested. Check they are screwed in safely before giving to a child.
  5. Check age restrictions: Toys must be clearly marked with age restrictions, which assess risks such as choking hazards. Always follow the age recommendations.
  6. Consider special needs: Remember that children with special needs might be more vulnerable, and make sure to shop accordingly.
  7. Choking hazards: Avoid toys with small parts or loose fabric – they can be a choking hazard.
  8. Loose parts: Loose ribbons on toys and costumes can be dangerous. Think before you buy.
  9. Inspect toy boxes: Wear and tear can make a toy unsafe. Check your children’s toys and get them repaired if necessary.
  10. Supervise when necessary: Some toys need an adult on hand during playtime. Read all the instructions so you can keep things under control.
  11. Tidy up: Boxes, plastic bags and wire can be a hazard. Clear away all packaging once everything’s unwrapped.
  12. Celebrate a safe Christmas: Completing these checks can save you a lot of stress later. Remember to get batteries (and dispose of these safely too)!

Anyone needing advice about a product they’ve bought can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

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