The Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is urging consumers to be safety aware when they are buying gifts, particularly toys, this Christmas. This consumer call-to-action follows the seizure and destruction of over 51,000 unsafe or non-compliant children’s toys by the CCPC. Consumers can check they are buying safe toys by looking for the CE mark which shows that the product meets EU safety standards.
With more consumers doing some, or all, of their Christmas shopping online this year, the CCPC is highlighting the risks posed to consumers by poor quality, unsafe or non-compliant products. Products which do not meet safety standards can be dangerous, particularly when it comes to children’s toys or gifts. The CCPC has created a checklist of what to look out for, to ensure consumers are safety aware this Christmas:
1. Look for the CE Mark: Check for the CE mark on children’s toys before you buy them. The CE mark is a manufacturer’s declaration that the product complies with EU safety regulations and standards. The CE mark should appear on the product, in the instruction manual or on the packaging and be easy to read. When buying toys online, check for the CE mark as soon as they arrive. If there is no visible CE mark, it may be an indication that the toys do not meet the required safety standards and should be returned. Under consumer protection law, you have 14 days from when your goods arrive to notify the business that you wish to cancel your order and a further 14 days to return them.
2. Always Buy from Reputable Retailers: Buying from a reputable retailer will help you to avoid unsafe, non-compliant toys, or toys with a fake CE mark. If you are buying online, it can be hard to know who you are buying from, so it’s important to do some quick research, check reviews and social media pages. Check where the business is based. If you can’t find this information easily, approach with caution. If the business is based outside of the EU, you may consider finding an alternative EU store to ensure you have stronger rights should an issue arise in the future. Carefully check toys purchased online and toys bought second-hand.
3. Check for Detachable Parts Smaller than €2 Coin: One of the biggest dangers for children is small or detachable parts of toys, as they can lodge in their ears, nose or throat, and cause an injury, or be a choking hazard to small children. A good reference point is a €2 coin, to help you assess the suitability of toys or small, detachable parts, as anything smaller than this could be a potential choking hazard for children aged 0-3 years.
4. Check the age range: Check age guidance instructions on all children’s toys, in particular 0-3 years, before you buy them. Age labelling is the manufacturer's way of telling you whether the toys are safe for a child of a particular age. It is also important to consider any younger children who may be in the household and who might be in danger if they play with the toy also.
5. Check for sharp edges, long cords or cables: Be sure to avoid dangerous or fold-away parts or small holes that could trap children’s fingers.
For more information on product safety or shopping online this Christmas, visit ccpc.ie. For consumers who wish to report unsafe products, or products suspected of carrying a fake CE mark, please contact the CCPC via our dedicated consumer helpline on 1890 432 432.
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