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Introduction

Are there hidden hazards under your Christmas Tree?

Are there hidden hazards under your Christmas Tree?

Are the toys you’ve bought for Christmas safe? There are a number of potential hazards to children that may be lurking under the tree. We show you how to ensure your family is safe this Christmas.

Check for Safety Marks

Look for a CE mark or Lion mark on the packaging or label. These can be faked so use your judgement and purchase from reputable suppliers.

Do your own ‘safety’ checks

When you have the toy in your hands – give everything a good tug. See if the eyes are secure, can you pull the stuffing out, are battery packs accessible to curious hands, are there long cords. Also, check any batteries – they should be in screwed down compartments. Trust your gut, if it looks unsafe, don’t give it to your children. 

Chemical hazards

Seeing safety marks are your only protection from buying toys with significant chemical hazards. You can’t tell what a product is made with. For example, up to 40% of the slimes and putties on sale in the UK contain too much boron, which causes vomiting, diarrhoea and cramps.

Magnetic toys

Unfortunately, there are some hazardous magnetic toys available to buy. The worst offenders are smaller magnets. Young children like to put things in their mouths, and can swallow small objects.

Magnets are incredibly dangerous to children. If more than one is swallowed, the magnets stick together and can cut off blood supply internally- this can be life-threatening within hours.

Button batteries

Circular batteries are a particular danger. Never let children have access to them and throw them away as soon as they aren’t locked into a toy. If your child were to eat one, they cause internal burns. Children have died from eating these, so be really careful.

Laser pointers

Laser pointers are strong enough that they can cause damage if shone in a child’s eye. You can’t tell how strong one is, so they are best avoided.

Ensure toys are age-appropriate

Giving a toy that is aimed at children over 3 to a 2-year-old may seem harmless, but it could be a choking hazard. Small parts and smaller-sized toys can easily end up lodged in a child’s throat. It’s worth remembering also that children with learning delays or special educational needs may need extra care around certain toys, even when past the recommended age.

What about second-hand toys?

Money is tight and many of us are happy to bring second-hand toys home from charity shops or eBay. Although shops have an obligation to do screening checks, in this case you have to be extra vigilant. Apply your common sense, if it looks unsafe – keep it away from your kids.  

Look for toys with their original boxes or instructions, and ensure they seem in good condition.

You can also Google the toy and add check for a recall or safety issue – if there has been a problem it will jump out at you. 

What about home-made/crafty small businesses selling toys? 

Fallen for the latest thing, advertised on Insta/ Facebook? All UK toys need to be tested and should still be marked. So if they aren’t, then do you really want your kids playing with them? Common sense must be applied. We all love homemade items, but be aware that checks should have been done, and if they haven’t then stay away.

If you have concerns about an unsafe toy, then do report it to Trading Standards

To learn more watch this webinar from the Child Accident Prevention Trust – www.capt.org.uk

Dangerous toys and how to avoid them free webinar replay

This blog has appeared on DAD.Info. DAD.info, now part of Spurgeons is Europe’s largest advice and support website for fathers. DAD.info was established in 2008 as a new generation men’s lifestyle channel and the leading voice for Dads. DAD.info aim to celebrate the changing role of Dads with engaging, helpful, practical, entertaining resources and content for every stage of their journey. It is home to the largest connected community of active, involved Dads through its interactive forum, providing great peer to peer support and advice for what can be one of the most challenging and rewarding life experiences.