15 December 2020
Only buy toys from well-known, reputable sellers – that’s the message from West Sussex Trading Standards Service this Christmas.
The warning comes after Trading Standards Officers uncovered dangerous toys online which failed to meet the correct safety standards.
As part of an investigation focussing on toys aimed at children under three, officers purchased items from online selling platforms and sent seven products for safety testing. Five failed to meet UK safety standards for toys and two were incorrectly labelled.
The toys included a teething ring for toddlers, a soft toy, a sensory chew necklace, a baby gym and a toy radio. All of these toys either had long cords which posed a choking hazard or had small detachable parts which could have been swallowed by a small child.
Three of the products were from UK sellers who have either arranged recalls or are in the process of doing so. The other two came direct from China.
Following the involvement of West Sussex Trading Standards officers, all these items have been de-listed from the online selling platform.
Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “The results of this investigation are concerning. We know many Christmas shoppers have turned to online marketplace sites this year because of the COVID-19 restrictions. Whilst we targeted toys that looked like they may fail testing from the descriptions and pictures, it highlights the dangers of “bargains” being sold through online marketplaces.
“The problems we have found are why we are calling for a change in the law to make online marketplaces have greater liability for the products they list - there are just too many unsafe products available through these marketplace sites.”
Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “The consequences of buying one of these toys as a Christmas present for a young child could be very serious indeed. Whilst I appreciate Christmas shopping has been more difficult this year, I would strongly urge all West Sussex residents to shop local if you can safely do so or only buy from well-known, reputable sellers and avoid purchasing cheap toys from marketplace sites. If the price of a Christmas present sounds too good to be true – it probably is.”
Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of an unfair trading practice, should contact Trading Standards via Citizens Advice on 08082231133 or online via www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport.