On 13th December, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in collaboration with Office for Product Safety and Standards, issued a cautionary warning to consumers buying toys this Christmas.
Leaving aside the late publication of this information – not all of us are last-minute shoppers - it is worth reproducing the twelve points that make up their press release. They are:
No one wants to take a risk with toy safety, so always bear in mind 12 tips when buying for children.
- Look for the CE symbol: This means the manufacturer has assessed the toy for safety. Find the symbol on the label or box.
- Check it’s for kids: Festive novelties can look like toys. Keep them away from kids.
- Reputation matters: Check the suppliers who have a good reputation for safe and reliable toys. They’ll have good safety standards and refund policies.
- 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.
- Check age restrictions: Toys must be clearly marked with age restrictions, which assess risks such as choking hazards. Always follow the age recommendations.
- Consider special needs: Remember that children with special needs might be more vulnerable, and make sure to shop accordingly.
- Choking hazards: Avoid toys with small parts or loose fabric – they can be a choking hazard.
- Loose parts: Loose ribbons on toys and costumes can be dangerous. Think before you buy.
- Inspect toy boxes: Wear and tear can make a toy unsafe. Check your children’s toys and get them repaired if necessary.
- Supervise when you need to: Some toys need an adult on hand during playtime. Read all the instructions so you can keep things under control.
- Tidy up: Boxes, plastic bags and wire can be a hazard. Clear away all packaging once everything’s unwrapped.
- 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)!
Readers who have concerns regarding any of their recent purchases for their children or younger relatives can access material from the consumer campaign page at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/consumer-safety-awareness-campaigns-materials.