Trading standards officers from Warwickshire County Council are conducting investigations into the safety of toys available to buy online and in the county’s shops in the run-up to Christmas. The investigations are part of trading standards’ ongoing work – replicated elsewhere across the country – to safeguard children from dangerous products.
The toys are being analysed for harmful chemicals such as Phthalates and toxic heavy metals including lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury.
Trading standards officers also carry out visual inspections of toys, ensuring there are no sharp edges, loose fabric or detachable small parts that could pose a choking hazard to a young child. Toys are also checked to ensure they carry the correct warnings and instructions.
Scott Tompkins, Assistant Director for Environment Services at Warwickshire County Council, said: “No one wants to give a dangerous toy to a child, so I’m delighted that Warwickshire Trading Standards is taking this action to help protect Warwickshire’s children.”
Trading standards officers are also advising consumers to do their own ‘check before you wrap’ inspections:
- Where possible, buy toys from reputable sellers. You may pay a little more but that’s often to ensure the product has had quality and safety checks
- Cheap counterfeit versions of products, especially the latest toy crazes, are often poor quality and can easily break or, in some cases, be dangerous
- Look for the CE mark and ensure that the present you are giving is age-suitable for the child receiving it. The voluntary Toy and Hobby Association ‘Lion Mark’ is also an indicator that the product complies with legal safety rules
- Check the toy for loose pile fabric/hair or small detachable parts that could choke a young child and sharp points and edges or finger traps
- Be particularly careful when buying second-hand toys. These often come without packaging or instructions
- Button batteries power many small toys but are especially dangerous if swallowed. Battery compartments should be lockable. Keep all batteries out of the reach of young children
- Toys should have the name and address of the manufacturer, or if the manufacturer is outside of the EU the name and address of the manufacturer and the EU importer
- For more information on child safety visit: rospa.com and www.capt.org.uk