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Safety Checks When Buying for Kids

The Office for Product Safety and Standards reminds consumers to shop safely for kids. Follow these basic safety checks when buying children's toys and presents - especially at Christmas time!

Created in January 2018, the OPSS is part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

A key role is enhancing protection for consumers and the environment. So, the warning is a timely reminder for parents buying children’s toys.

Similar guidelines targeting second rate toys also comes from:

  • The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT)
  • The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)
  • Netmums (parenting advice and information)
  • The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)

There is never a shortage of children’s toys on offer, whether in the shops or for sale online. It seems inevitable that an occasional second-rate product will sneak its way into the market.

The chance of that happening increases at certain busy times of the year. Thus, parents need to extra vigilant to celebrate a safe Christmas.

Use these simple safety checks while toy shopping for kids in the high street stores and online. Doing so could mean you avoid having disappointed kids in the family and unnecessary stress.

Note: The Office for Product Safety and Standards leaflet and poster accompanies the toy safety checklist. They are also updating the technical annexes to the Cosmetic Products Regulation 2009 and Schedule 2 to the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011.

Think Before You Buy!

  • Always look for a CE symbol. The manufacturer will have assessed the toy for safety if it is displaying this symbol.
  • Check the product is in fact meant for small kids. Certain types of festive novelties can look like toys – which children should stay well away from.
  • Reputation is important. Try to buy devices from suppliers with a good reputation for selling safe and reliable toys. Besides having to meet high standards they will also be able to answer any questions you may have.
  • Be cautious with ‘cheap’ bargains. It is not uncommon for find a good deal at jumble and car boot sale. But, take extra care as old or worn toys may no longer be safe.
  • Check for appropriate age restrictions. There should be a marking on toys that shows the age restriction. Always adhere to them because they refer to risks (e.g. choking hazards or sharp points).
  • Beware of toys that create choking hazards. Tiny toy parts, hair, and loose or shedding fabric can be a dangerous choking hazard.
  • Consider children with special needs. Age restrictions may put children with special needs at a higher risk. Loose ribbons and costumes can also create a danger, especially for a child left unsupervised.
  • Inspect children’s toy boxes. Some toys you already own may be too worn out to be safe. As they wear and tear kids toy devices can expose its filling material or sharp edges. Try to get a family favourite repaired – if your toddler refuses to throw it away.
  • Supervision is a necessity for certain devices (e.g. a chemistry sets). An adult should be supervising during this type of playtime.
  • Tidy up after kids’ playtime. Hazards come in all shapes and sizes (e.g. batteries, boxes, packaging materials, plastic bags, wire).

Note: Always check the instructions on complex toys and games for any hazards. Some will need batteries too – so dispose of them in a safe manner.


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Safety Checks When Buying Children’s Toys in United Kingdom