Fair Trading issues toy safety warning to Christmas shoppers

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

Parents are being warned to be on alert when shopping for Christmas gifts this year, with a number of toys landing on Santa’s unsafe list during the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) Operation Safe Christmas campaign.

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said each year the OFT inspected thousands of toy lines in a bid to limit the number of dangerous toys that children were exposed to over the festive season.

“Shoppers need to be aware when shopping for Christmas toys this year,” Ms Fentiman said.

“Following inspections of over 5,600 toy lines across 266 retailers there have been six toys identified as unsafe.

“Two plush toys, a wooden alphabet puzzle, a wooden number puzzle, a magnetic number puzzle and a rainbow circle stacker have been removed from shelves after they were deemed to be a choking hazard for young children.

The Attorney-General said OFT inspections included shops and popup stores across Queensland.

“Considering the huge number of toy lines inspected, it’s good to see a very low number of non-compliant toys were found, which shows most manufacturers and retailers are aware of and sticking to their obligations around consumer safety,” she said.

“However, just because thousands of toys have been checked, this isn’t a free pass on safety matters.”

When choosing toys and gifts for children this Christmas, there are a few simple rules to remember:

  • Toys with small parts are a choking hazard
    • A good rule is the smaller the child the bigger the toy
  • Beware of button batteries, not just in toys but a range of products, they can cause serious injuries or death if swallowed
    • They need to be in secure child resistant battery compartments
    • Avoid poor quality products which may release the batteries if broken or dropped
  • Avoid small high-powered magnets – these are banned from sale in Australia as they pose serious health risks if swallowed.

“Consumers should exercise extreme caution when buying magnetic balls commonly supplied as a toy, game or puzzle. If in doubt, always ask the seller to verify the product supplied is not subject to the permanent ban.

“As Queenslanders search for the perfect Christmas gifts this year, we ask you take a step back and be cautious about buying products from overseas websites.

“The reality is that these products, especially toys, may not meet current Australian safety standards.”

Consumers are advised to stick to reputable brands or retailers and if you are buying online, check information about the seller and always ensure the toy has not been banned or recalled.

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