Unsafe Christmas Toys | Check Your Purchases Against this List

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Unsafe Christmas toys are every parent’s worst nightmare! But how do you know if your gifts have been deemed unsafe for children this festive season?  Thanks to the Office of Fair Trading’s annual Operation Safe Christmas initiative family members buying toys as gifts this Christmas can be reassured that Queensland retailers are selling the safest batch of festive toys. Every year they inspect major shopping centres to make sure only safe and age-appropriate toys are on sale and remove 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 present 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. 

Follow the Six S’s of Toy Safety to prevent buying unsafe Christmas toys:

  • 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.
  • Secure battery compartments – make sure that battery covers are secure and small children can’t access them.

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.

Unsafe Christmas toys | Important information in 2021

In 2021, the Office of Fair Trading visited 19 Queensland stores and pop-up shops, checking more than 7,330 products

On the whole, retailers and importers performed well this year, with a relatively small number of unsafe toys removed from shelves, which shows retailers are aware of their obligations around Australian safety standards.

Officers removed a squishy spider yo-yo water ball and toy drum set from sale due to small parts, strangulation and choking hazards. A further four plush toys and two foam puzzles were also taken off shelves by officers for testing.

These dangerous toys include:

Squishy Spider Yo-Yo Water Ball

Unsafe Christmas Toys

Toy Drum Set

Unsafe Christmas Toys


Wooden puzzle (numbers)

     Wooden_Puzzle_Numbers unsafe christmas toy

Small parts – choking hazard in children up to and including 36 months of age.

Wooden puzzle (alphabet)

Wooden_Puzzle_Alphabet unsafe christmas toy

Small parts – choking hazard in children up to and including 36 months of age.

Magnetic puzzle (numbers)

Puzzle Magnetic numbers

Small parts – choking hazard in children up to and including 36 months of age.

Rainbow circle stacker


Small parts – choking hazard in children up to and including 36 months of age.

Paw Patrol toy

Paw_Patrol1 unsafe christmas toy

Paw patrol toy (not official merchandise) released stuffing from seams on back and stomach. Small parts – choking hazard in children up to and including 36 months of age.

Squirrel toy nut


Squirrel nut was released and fits entirely into small parts cylinder. Small parts – choking hazard in children up to and including 36 months of age.

If you have seen any of this year’s toys for sale, please contact the Office of Fair trading.

Suddenly in need of a new Christmas gift?

There are some great Christmas Markets on in the lead up to the big day. Christmas Markets are the perfect spot to snap up a unique gift whilst supporting local!

Thinking of heading out to see your local Christmas lights? We’ve got detailed driving maps here.

One response to “Unsafe Christmas Toys | Check Your Purchases Against this List”

  1. Craig says:

    Baby products are tough for new importers because there are so many safety related restrictions and standards. For shoppers the key is to not buy high risk products I.e dummies and sleepwear from less reputable retailers.

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