The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has an extensive list of unsafe toys, which Santa shouldn’t be asked to bring this Christmas.
Last year, the commission prevented some 20,000 unsafe toys from being placed for sale on the Irish market. The unsafe toys, mainly imported from China, were unbranded, of poor quality and intended for sale at markets or discount shops.
If the commission determines that a product presents a hazard to the consumer, it can compel the trader to take appropriate remedial action, which might include the product being withdrawn from the market and the recall and or repair of products already sold. The commission is the Irish contact point for the Europe-wide rapid alert system, RAPEX, which contains a list of all product recalls, which have taken place in the EU.
Safety tips for parents in guiding their children when compiling their Santa list:
Only buy toys with the CE Mark. All toys for sale in Ireland must have the CE mark, which indicates that the toy complies with European safety standards. If you are buying toys at a Christmas market or discount store make sure it has the CE mark. However, be aware that CE marks can be faked so it is not an absolute guarantee that the product is safe
Always look out for warnings on toys and check the “age suitability” warnings on the toy. For example – ‘Not suitable for children under three years’ is a warning, not a guide.
Never throw out instructions and always make sure you read them carefully as they warn of any possible dangers when using the toy. They should be clear and in a language that you understand.
Take care that you buy from reputable traders and choose toys that are suitable for the child’s age and skill level. If you have particular concerns about the safety of a toy, ask the retailer about it before you buy.
Avoid buying toys with small parts for younger children. Take time to examine toys before you buy. Check to see if there are any removable or detachable small parts, which could lodge in a child’s ears, nose or throat. Check that the toy has no sharp edges, parts that stick out, fastenings, long cords or cables.
If the toy uses batteries, make sure the child cannot open the part of the toy where the batteries are stored.
Always take care when buying toys with electrical parts and read the safety instructions carefully.
Remove and discard all toy packaging like plastic bags, plastic wrap, foam, staples and ties. A child can suffocate or choke on these items.
If a toy is faulty you can return it. If you come across a toy that seems unsafe or doesn’t have a CE mark, don’t buy it and contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission by phoning its consumer helpline on 1890 432 432 or visit www.consumerhelp.ie.