LIFESTYLE | FAMILY

Christmas is not a season for unsafe toys

Michelle Baltazar

Filipina mums, beware. Check that the gifts you give to your children aren’t among the products just pulled out from the Christmas shelves this month for safety reasons.

Toddlers, or those under three-years-old, are especially vulnerable. In one case the Office of Fair Trading stopped the sale of 2,500 toys after they were found to contain a chemical, phthalate DEHP, at as much as 29 times the legal limit.

In most uses phthalate DEHP is quite safe but the problem occurs if they are used in excessive amounts for products, such as toys for kids, which can be readily sucked or chewed.

It can affect the developing reproductive systems of children who chew or suck on products with high levels of DEHP.

The ‘importer’ of these toys have since recalled the product from variety stores but some toys have already been sold on eBay.

To date, almost 500 lines of unsafe toys have been picked up in a pre-Christmas national crackdown led by the consumer watchdog, the ACCC.

The pre-Christmas survey targeted 3,000 suppliers and looked at toys ranging from small stocking fillers to bicycles.

Many toys were inspected and put through laboratory testing to detect the presence of any toxic chemicals.

“Most of the toys identified by the regulators were found in $2 discount variety stores,” said  Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, David Bradbury.

Among those on the hitlist were:

  • basketball rings
  • aquatic toys without appropriate labelling
  • face paints with dangerous levels of lead
  • toys with small parts that posed choking hazards to young children.

“Parents should take steps to make sure that the toys their children are playing with are safe. Remember to always read the warning labels and check for small parts,” said Bradbury.

If you have any doubts about the safety of a product, check the national product safety website, www.productsafety.gov.au, or contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

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