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The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Toy Safety with Tina

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Each year Tina arms our viewers with the knowledge they need to buy safe toys for their kids at Christmas. Tina will speak about what to look out for when buying a toy, what information you should read on the toy packaging before making a purchase and some practical tips on buying safe toys. Tina will also be talking about two product recalls.

With Christmas only a few weeks away, toys are top of the list for most consumers shopping list.


This time last year the papers were full of scary stories about lead in toy paint and magnets that children could swallow; there was recall after recall. Since then the European Commission has been working with toy manufacturers, government agencies and the Chinese manufacturers in efforts to create new rules and recommendations to ensure all our products are safe. In the meanwhile, there is still good legislation governing toy safety and product safety. All toys and products for sale in the EU, no matter where they are manufactured, have to meet strict safety requirements. Here is the information you need to know.

CE mark
Toys are defined in law as a product or material designed or intended for use in play by children of aged 14 and under. All toys must carry the CE mark. This mark should be on or attached to the product itself or on the packaging. It has to be visible and easily readable and can't be rubbed off. The CE mark means that the toy complies with the safety standards.

Other required information and marks

Toys must also provide:
. The name and address or trademark of the manufacturer or importer to the EU.
. Instruction for use (if required)
. Advice on the safe use of the toy
. If the product has detachable parts it should be marked "unsuitable for children under 36 months".
. Any particular hazard that exists should be listed on the packaging.

Other things to check

. Make sure the product is strong and resilient and won't break easy.
. Make sure the product is made of materials that don't burn easily.
. Buy the product from a reputable seller and take extra care if buying at a street market or car boot sale.
. Make sure the toy is suitable for your child's age and pay attention to the 'minimum age' warnings.
. Be particularly careful when buying an electrical toy. Electrical toys with more then 24 volts can be sold in Ireland. Make sure the safety instructions are clear and precise.
. If buying a bicycle or go-kart there should be adequate breaks and guards for chains. Make sure there is adequate lighting if being used on public roads.

Use your common sense!
. Be alert for sharp edges and detachable parts
. Check wooden toys for nails and screws that stick out.
. Consider safety implications if there is a younger child in the house who may be at risk from the toy.
. Are fold-away toys likely to trap children's little fingers?
. Does the toy smell strange? If it does it could mean that too many chemicals were used when it was made.

News alerts - 2 product recalls
Say a quick word on how things have changed since last year and that there are not many recalls. Companies are now acting quicker than ever to any suggestions that they are selling toys that are unsafe.

1. One product which has been recalled in response to concerns raised by the NCA is Wild World Magic Grow Reptile and Dinosaur Eggs. These toys have been recalled as a precautionary measure, as they may present a choking hazard to children.

The toys could expand by over 50% in size when left in water. If the toy or part of the toy were swallowed, it would expand when it comes in contact with saliva or gastric juices and may cause asphyxia or gastrointestinal injuries.

The particular items are:

Magic Grow Reptile Egg - Black Lizard with White Spots & Yellow Eyes - Item:1370936
Magic Grow Reptile Egg - Green Lizard with Scaly black & yellow eyes - Item: 370936
Magic Grow Reptile Egg - Crocodile in Green Colour - Item: 1370936
Magic Grow Reptile Egg - Crocodile in Pink/Purple Colour - Item: 1370936
Magic Grow Reptile Egg - Yellow Camelion with Pink Spots - Item: 1370936
Magic Grow Dinosaur Egg - Green Dinosaur with Scaly Back and Yellow Eyes - Item: 1370935
Magic Grow Dinosaur Egg - Black Coloured Dinosaur with Yellow Eyes - Item: 1370935

If you have any of these products you can get a refund:

Either return them to the shop where you bought them (no receipt needed), or contact
Halsall International Ltd, Eastham House, Copse Road, Fleetwood, Lancashire, FY7 7NY or
Phone 00441253775533 or check their Website;

2. Another recalled product is Heaton's 'Baby Denim Jeans' and 'Baby Denim Skirt with Leggings'. The recall is a precautionary measure taken after 2 complaints relating to the decorative buttons on the garments becoming loose and representing a choking hazard. If you have either of these items you can go to your nearest Heatons store for a full refund.

The particular items are:
Baby Denim Jeans - style No: 07020544 suitable for 3-6 months and 18-23 months, and
Baby Denim Skirt with Leggings - style No: 07080005 suitable for 3-6 months and 18-23 months