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Toy Safety

Christmas is a time for children to have fun, but there are particular safety concerns when choosing toys. Parents, family and people that work with children should be wary of the possible hazards caused by toys. By following the simple safety tips below you can make sure you have a safe Christmas.

Under the Toys (Safety) Regulations 1995, retailers must only supply toys if:

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  • The toy is safe and meets stringent safety standards
  • The toy is labelled with the ‘CE’ mark - a commitment from the toy maker that the toy complies with all EU safety rules which are amongst the strictest in the world.
  • The toy is labelled with the manufacturers or importers name and address.
  • The toy bears any relevant warnings to ensure the safe use of the toy.

The following guidance should be followed whenever buying toys for children:

  • Buy from reputable shops and online traders - they take care about the toys they sell and will usually accept returns. Rogue traders, however, tend to ignore health and safety needs and may also deal in fake toys.
  • Beware of buying from car boots, street sellers, etc. as you may not have any rights for redress or be able to contact the trader again if things go wrong.
  • Look for safety signs in addition to the “CE” mark (e.g. the British Toy and Hobby Association ‘Lionmark’)
  • Have regard to the toys suitability for the age of the child (look for age warnings such as the one on the right e.g. Not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts)
  • Read all warnings and instructions
  • Examine toys carefully for sharp edges or points
  • Beware of toys with small parts which could be a choking hazard for young children
  • Don’t buy toys without a “CE” mark
  • Don’t give toys with small pieces, which could be a choking hazard, to young children
  • Don’t give small children tree decorations, imitation food, Christmas crackers etc. to play with
  • Don’t forget to keep older children’s toys away from the toddler or baby
  • Remove all packaging and dispose of safely away from children
  • Carefully follow the instructions for proper toy assembly and use
  • Keep the instructions and information that are packaged with the toy in a safe place.
  • Keep an eye on children as they play and do not leave them unattended
  • Make sure that all toys are played with as intended and are suitable for the age and abilities of the child. With certain toys – such as scooters, roller skates and bikes – helmets and other safety gear should always be worn.
  • Check toys from time to time for breakage or wear that could cause injury and affect the health and safety of the child. Remove broken toys immediately.
  • Teach your children to put away their toys to avoid accidents - don’t leave toys out on the stairs or on the floor in busy areas of the home.

If you come across a toy that is unsafe take it away from your child immediately and report it to Cornwall Council's Trading Standards Service on 0300 1234 191.