With Christmas around the corner, Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service has begun to safety test toys available for sale on the Internet and in Warwickshire shops.
Last year Trading Standards Officers discovered (and removed from sale) toys containing banned chemicals, toys for toddlers with small detachable parts that could choke and toys that posed hazards such as finger traps.
Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:
“With a growing number of online platforms on which to sell toys, including social media, it has never easier to both manufacture and sell toys to anyone anywhere across the world.”
“Unfortunately, this has also meant’ more opportunities for unscrupulous businesses to sell toys direct to Warwickshire consumers that may be dangerous.”
“We strongly urge consumers to follow our top tips to buying a safe toy and we have also produced guidance for Warwickshire toy retailers, importers and manufacturers on what they need to do to comply with the law.”
More toys will be ordered online this year than ever before and Trading Standards Officers will be focusing on toys consumers are purchasing online, including those bought directly from manufacturers based outside the UK or EU and supplied via fulfilment centres or sold by dropshipping*
Trading Standards Officers will be purchasing suspect toys before getting them safety tested. Where problems are identified Officers will be seeking to have the products removed from online platforms, withdrawn from sale and product recall notices issued to warn consumers.
Top Tips to Buying a Safe Toy
- 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. Beware of toys that do not carry this information
- For more information on child safety visit: www.rospa.com and www.capt.org.uk
Advice for UK Toy Manufacturers, Importers and Distributors/Retailers
- If you are a UK toy manufacturer or are selling toys that you have imported from outside the UK and EU, you are responsible for ensuring that those toys are safe. Distributors must not supply goods that they believe are dangerous. Your level of responsibility depends upon whether you are involved in the production of the toys or in their supply.
- UK manufacturers and importers are required to carry out a conformity assessment procedure in order to demonstrate that the product is safe and must have measures in place to identify and deal with any risks arising from that product’s use.
- There are a number of labelling requirements for toys. The toy must be correctly labelled with the name and address of the manufacturer/importer, and include the type, batch, model or serial number, the CE mark, and carry warnings and instructions.
- UK Manufacturers and importers are strongly advised to submit their products for independent safety testing periodically. Distributors should also monitor the safety of the products they supply e.g. by requesting test certificates
- Further advice is available on Business Companion, visit: https://www.businesscompanion.info/
Consumers can report unsafe toys to Warwickshire Trading Standards Service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or visit: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards Warwickshire businesses can also obtain help and advice in the same manner.
* Dropshipping is a retail model where the retailer never handles the products themselves. Instead, when the store sells a product, the item is shipped directly to the consumer by the supplier (sometimes a manufacturer and usually based outside the UK/EU).