The number of dangerous toys sold online to unsuspecting families is on the increase – so it’s important to be extra cautious when buying Christmas presents this year.
Worryingly, if you buy from a third party seller via one of the well-known online marketplaces, toys might not meet UK safety standards. Online marketplaces are simply offering a shop window to sellers around the world and aren’t legally required to check if a toy is safe before allowing it to be sold.
Dangers can include:
Magnets so strong they can burn through a child’s gut if swallowed
Long cords that can strangle a child
Dangerous levels of chemicals
Small parts that can choke or suffocate
Easy access to button batteries that can get stuck in a child’s food pipe, cause internal bleeding and even death.
Lots of families will be looking for bargains online this year due to shop closures and financial pressures caused by Covid-19. If you are able to, then buy direct via websites of well-known brand names. If you are buying from an online marketplace, enter a reputable brand name when you search for the toy you want to be sure it’s safe.
How to spot if a toy could be unsafe:
Remember, toys aren’t checked for safety before they’re sold by an online marketplace
If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is – it costs manufacturers money to make toys safe. Try to find something you can be more sure about.
Babies and toddlers put nearly everything in their mouths, which is why toys not designed for this age group need to state ‘not suitable for under 3s’ or have a warning symbol. Under 3s may choke on small parts or loose hair, so be wary of toys that feature small or loose parts and have no age warning.
If the listing includes contradictory information about the toy – for example, it’s described as a toddler’s toy, but elsewhere it says it’s not suitable for under 12s – think again.
Look out for suspicious reviews. If they look like they’re copied from a toy’s leaflet, sound very similar or were written on the same day, they could be fake. Find out where the company is based. It’s a legal requirement to have a UK or EU address to sell toys here. If they’re based outside the UK or EU, the toys may not comply with UK safety standards. The CE mark or Lion Mark show toys have been made to approved standards. However, some unscrupulous companies can fake them – so if you already have concerns, don’t rely on these alone.
CAPT also have a useful video on their website on this topic.