Toys to avoid this Christmas
Family members buying toys as gifts this Christmas can be reassured that Queensland retailers are selling the safest batch of festive toys thanks to the Office of Fair Trading’s annual Operation Safe Christmas. Every year they inspect major shopping centres to make sure only safe and age appropriate toys are on sale and removed dangerous Christmas toys from shelves.
Only a small number of toys are removed each year because they are considered dangerous. This is mostly because they have small or detachable parts that presented a choking hazard. However, as always it is important that parents, carers and those buying gifts for children consider the gifts and think about their safety. Scroll down this article to see the current year’s list of toys of concern.
Parents and carers can check Christmas toys and products meet safety standards by following the Five S’s of Toy Safety:
- Size – the smaller the child the bigger the toy should be (anything smaller than a 35 millimetre film canister or ping pong is too small for a child under three)
- Shape – be wary of products that, because of their shape, may be easily swallowed or have sharp edges or points
- Surface – make sure all finishes are non-toxic (this should be stated in the packaging)
- Strings – anything over 30cm is a strangulation hazard for a small child and should be removed
- Supervision – close supervision by a responsible adult is essential
Also keep in mind these safety tips when shopping for Christmas toys
- Projectile toys should be low force, with flexible shafts, soft tipped parts and should not easily discharge dangerous, improvised projectiles like nails and stones.
- Avoid cap guns with no barrel plug as they can produce blasts of hot sparks.
- Avoid toys with loud noises which can damage the hearing of young children.
- Magnetic toys should be avoided for small children. If they are swallowed they can attract across the bowel and cause serious damage.
- Discard dead batteries in toys as they may leak corrosive fluid and burn skin.
- Use open boxes or cupboards at floor level to store toys as boxes with heavy top-opening lids which can crush children’s body parts.
- Be especially cautious when selecting toys from discount stores or markets, as the traders’ internal safety procedures may not be as sophisticated as mainstream toy suppliers.
- Don’t buy half a present. Bikes, skateboards and roller blades should be accompanied by appropriate helmets and other protective wear.
- Loose parts! Nothing smaller than a twenty cent piece – any smaller and it presents a choking hazard to small children.
Each year the Office of Fair Trading removes a number of unsafe toys from the shelves of shops to keep us safe.
According to the Office of Fair Trading, parents who have purchased an unsafe toy, including those on this year’s list, can return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Important information as at December 2019
Five unsafe toys have been removed from Queensland retailers’ shelves as part of the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) Operation Safe Christmas campaign. The campaign aims to limit the number of dangerous toys that children are exposed to over the festive season.
These dangerous toys include:
- Yo-yo water balls and aquatic toys that do not comply with mandatory national safety regulations
- Two types of yoyo balls that are strangulation and choking risks
- Two inflatable emojis and a goose swim ring that did not have correct safety labelling (and the emojis did not have non-return valves with permanent stoppers meaning they deflate very easily)