The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) has found that unsafe toys continue to be sold via third-party sellers on online marketplaces, despite repeated warnings – and it is urging the government to act now to tackle the problem. The BTHA’s new Don’t Toy With Children’s Safety report found that 60% of the toys it tested had safety failings, with 86% being illegal to sell in the UK.
The BTHA believes the problem has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a rise in online sales as shoppers avoid bricks-and-mortar premises.
As the Christmas shopping season fast approaches, the BTHA is calling for changes to legislation that would make online marketplaces jointly liable for third-party sales – which would place an onus on the marketplace to ensure that toys and other goods passing through their sites are safe.
It is taking the campaign directly to MPs in a virtual round table event to take place today (October 13). Neil Coyle MP is sponsoring the event and is also a spokesperson for the report.
The BTHA is also calling for updates to consumer laws governing the terms and conditions of online marketplaces, including warranties, and increased powers for trading standards and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) to take action against online marketplaces and to remove unsafe products from sale. It is also advocating that the Online Harms Bill be updated to include physical harm caused by defective products sold via online marketplaces.
Jerry Burnie, Head of Technical Compliance for the BTHA, said: “We are calling on government to take action to protect children before another child is seriously injured, or even dies. In the meantime, consumers should exercise caution when buying toys from third-party sellers on online marketplaces such as Amazon, Alibaba’s AliExpress and eBay, and should follow the BTHA consumer tips to reduce the chances of buying dangerous toys.”
Natasha Crookes, Director of Public Affairs for the BTHA, added: “Little or no action has been taken to make sustained changes that will protect children from unsafe toys. Faults we have identified include access to small batteries that burn the oesophagus if swallowed, use of restricted chemicals, small parts which are a choke risk, the use of long chords with their increased risk of strangulation and magnets which are extremely harmful if ingested.”
To read the full Don’t Toy With Children’s Safety report, click here.