Lincs: County Council’s Trading Standards team urges parents to be toy-safe with their children this Christmas

Check that toys  have all the correct safety labels before buying them for your children this Christmas
Check that toys have all the correct safety labels before buying them for your children this Christmas

Lincolnshire County Council’s trading standard’s team are warning people to make sure they stay safe when it comes to buying toys this Christmas.

“If you’re buying for youngsters in the run-up to Christmas, make sure you get toys that won’t put them at risk,” said Alexandra Connell, the council’s senior trading standard’s officer.

“As well as keeping children entertained, toys help them learn new skills and make friends.

“But there are dangerous items out there - particularly on the internet - and playing safe is always the best approach.

“Most toys sold in the UK and Europe are very safe because of laws regulating their manufacture.

“However, cheap, illegal imports are sold widely on the internet and social media shopping sites.

“You can also sometimes get caught out at places like local markets, temporary shops and car boot sales.”

To avoid falling into these traps, the council has some basic tips for consumers.

· Always head for reputable retailers - whether on the High Street or online. They will be careful what products they stock, and you should be able to return something if there is a fault.

· Beware of counterfeit goods. They may have low prices but they are illegal and often not made to proper standards. Internet auction sites can be particularly prone to counterfeit items.

· Be wary of a “too good to be true” deal. A rule of thumb is: if something costs less than half the normal price, it’s likely to be fake.

· Make sure toys are appropriate for the child’s age. In particular, remember that babies and toddlers can choke on small or loose parts.

· Think about other possible hazards - for example, does a toy gun have the potential to cause an eye injury?

Addtionally, before you buy trading Standards recommend you always check for the following:

· Name and address of the manufacturer or importer - this information is a legal requirement. Unless both the name and EU address/postcode are present, do not buy.

· Type, batch, serial or model number - these must be present - if they aren’t, do not buy.

· CE Mark - if only the CE Mark is present but not the above information, do not buy.

· Age range of the product - toys that might be dangerous for children under three must say so and state the risks, for example, Warning: Choking Hazard.

“Lincolnshire Trading Standards work closely with traders across the county to try and ensure the products they make or import are safe,” continued Alexandra.

“We also take items to be checked by safety experts.

“This year, we’ve seized thousands of toys from markets across the East Coast, including unlicensed and unsafe ‘Despicable Me’ Minions.”

Follow the council’s trading standards team on Twitter at @lincsts for updates on their unsafe toy crackdown, as well as details of national product recalls.

You can find more information at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards