As the election upheavals are now completed, the government has issued a timely news release to help people shop safely for children's presents this Christmas. The Office for Product Safety & Standards (OPSS) is a part of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and has partnered with Santa, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Chartered Trading Standards Institute, Netmums, and the Child Accident Prevention Trust to warn against second rate toys.
The OPSS has published the following 12 tips to keep you informed when buying toys.
- Look for the CE symbol: This means the manufacturer has assessed the toy for safety. Find the symbol on the label or box.
- Check it’s for kids: Festive novelties can look like toys. Keep them away from children.
- Reputation matters: Check the suppliers who have a good reputation for safe and reliable toys. They’ll have good safety standards and refund policies.
- Button battery safety: Christmas toys may have button batteries - which can prove lethal if ingested. Check they are screwed in safely before giving to a child.
- Check age restrictions: Toys must be clearly marked with age restrictions, which assess risks such as choking hazards. Always follow the age recommendations.
- Consider special needs: Remember that children with special needs might be more vulnerable, and make sure to shop accordingly.
- Choking hazards: Avoid toys with small parts or loose fabric – they can be a choking hazard.
- Loose parts: Loose ribbons on toys and costumes can be dangerous. Think before you buy.
- Inspect toy boxes: Wear and tear can make a toy unsafe. Check your children’s toys and get them repaired if necessary.
- Supervise when you need to: Some toys need an adult on hand during playtime. Read all the instructions so you can keep things under control.
- Tidy up: Boxes, plastic bags and wire can be a hazard. Clear away all packaging once everything’s unwrapped.
- Celebrate a safe Christmas: Completing these checks can save you a lot of stress later. Remember to get batteries (and dispose of these safely too).