As Christmas approaches, Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service has begun checking the safety of toys available to buy online and in High St. shops.
Toys are analysed to ensure they don’t contain any harmful chemicals such as Phthalates (a banned plastic softener) and toxic heavy metals including lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury.
Trading Standards Officers also carry out visual inspections, looking for sharp edges or loose pile fabric/hair and small detachable parts that could choke a young child. Finally, toys are checked to ensure they carry the correct warnings and instructions.
Warwickshire Trading Standards are responsible for enforcing product safety laws and carry out regular market surveillance exercises.
Scott Tompkins, Assistant Director for Environment Services 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.”
“If you come across a dangerous toy, stop using it and report it to Trading Standards on 03454 040506”
Trading Standards officers are also advising consumers to do their own ‘check before you wrap’ inspections.
- Where possible, buy your 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 fad or toy, 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 their 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: www.rospa.com and www.capt.org.uk