22 December 2017

Toy safety: what not to gift a child this Christmas

| Ruwendi Wakwella
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Warning: Choking Hazard

A toy story: Government issues a warning on potentially dangerous toys and how to detect them.

An inspection of children’s toys and aquatic toys in 37 stores across Canberra has resulted in only one safety warning revision this time, but the ACT Government still urges parents to continue being cautious about the toys their children play with this Christmas season.

Access Canberra revealed these results after the conclusion of its annual toy inspection, which included stores that sell children’s toys, aquatic toys, as well as baby bath products. Of the 37 stores surveyed, inspectors found only one pool toy which they determined needed revision to its safety warning.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Shane Rattenbury confirmed that the toy’s safety warning had been updated since the inspection.

However, he also cautioned parents to still be mindful when purchasing toys for children this Christmas.

Although this round of inspections showed high levels of compliance, Mr Rattenbury said, “loose small parts, flimsy materials prone to degradation or breakage, as well as toys with design flaws which allow batteries to be easily removed by small children are all concerns when it comes to toy safety.

“To be compliant with mandatory standards, toys for children up to 36 months should not have small parts that could come loose and either be swallowed or become lodged anywhere in a child’s mouth or throat.”

Previous inspections found toys such as the Bruin Wiggle Ball, the VTech Baby Shake and Sing Elephant Rattle, and the VTech Baby Pack & Go Travel Mobile being recalled this year due to safety violations.

The Bruin Wiggle Ball (also known as the Giggle Ball) was recalled because of its detachable rubber knobs, which was seen as a potential choking hazard for young children.

The Wiggle Ball. Photo: ACT Government.

“I would urge parents to check that recalled toys are not still in use and anyone gifting toys to children to check that the Bruin Wiggle Ball and VTech products are not among the presents waiting under the tree,” Mr Rattenbury said.

The Bruin Wiggle Ball can be returned to any Toys”R”Us store for a full refund.

Another safety precaution parents should be taking is the safe storage and use of lithium button batteries, which are commonly found in electrical devices, remotes and children’s toys.

The batteries can be easily mistaken for a sweet treat by young children, but if ingested, can cause significant digestive tract burns and injury, Mr Rattenbury warned.

“By storing these batteries out of reach of little hands, we can help keep kids safe this festive season,” he said.

For more details on recalled toys, how to return them and receive a refund, go to www.productsafety.gov.au.

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