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Take care where you buy from this Christmas

Sunday 21st November 2021

Remember that online marketplaces are just that – lots of different traders under one roof. You may be buying from a seller in the Far East, where safety standards for toys are very different to ours.
Discount stores may also be importing from countries with very different safety standards too. Trading standards in the UK have seized toys that quickly fall apart, revealing sharp metal spikes and nails, or with cords and balls that could easily choke a young child.
Of course there are laws designed to make sure toys are safe. But you need to take care where you buy from.
If your budget can stretch to it, head to reputable retailers on the high street or online, or to the websites of well-known brand names. And if you’re counting the pennies this Christmas, look out for things like CE marks and Lion Marks on toys.

Safety tips for people to use when buying for children:
1. Look for the CE symbol: This means the manufacturer has assessed the toy for safety. Find the symbol on the label or box.

2. Check it’s for kids: Festive novelties can look like toys. Keep them away from kids.
3. Reputation matters: Check the suppliers who have a good reputation for safe and reliable toys. They’ll have good safety standards and refund policies.
4. 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.
5. Check age restrictions: Toys must be clearly marked with age restrictions, which assess risks such as choking hazards.  Always follow the age recommendations.
6. Consider special needs: Remember that children with special needs might be more vulnerable, and make sure to shop ordingly.
7. Choking hazards: Avoid toys with small parts or loose fabric – they can be a choking hazard.
8. Loose parts: Loose ribbons on toys and costumes can be dangerous. Think before you buy.
9. Inspect toy boxes: Wear and tear can make a toy unsafe. Check your children’s toys and get them repaired if necessary.
10. 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.
11. Tidy up: Boxes, plastic bags and wire can be a hazard. Clear away all packaging once everything’s unwrapped.
12. Celebrate a safe Christmas: Completing these checks can save you a lot of stress later.

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