A toy is defined as ‘any product or material designed or clearly intended for use in play by a child of less than 14 years of age’.

Toys must satisfy essential safety requirements – relevant legislation and recognised safety standards.  These relate to general principles of design and construction, physical and mechanical properties, flammability, chemical properties, electrical properties, hygiene and radioactivity.  All goods on sale must be safe for their intended use.  Unsafe toys can cause injury and can even kill.  Examples of problems that can make toys unsafe are:

  • Unnecessary sharp points that could cause injury
  • Small parts which could cause a child to choke
  • Paint on a toy which may have excessive levels of lead
  • Exposed live electric parts that would cause electric shock to the user

Although toys are involved in over 40,000 accidents each year, their safety is only part of the problem.  Many accidents involving toys occur when people trip over them and when babies play with toys intended for older children.

10 Tips when buying toys:

  1. Only purchase goods from a reputable supplier/shop
  2. Examine goods to ensure they carry safety symbols or signs e.g. CE mark and appropriate labels e.g. not suitable for under 3 years.
  3. Read all warnings carefully and follow any operating instructions.
  4. Keep receipts as proof of purchase
  5. Only use goods or equipment for the purpose for which they are intended e.g. they are suitable for the child’s age
  6. Don’t let young children play with older children’s toys
  7. Check toys for loose hair and small parts, sharp edges and points
  8. Dispose of any toy that is in poor repair
  9. Keep play areas tidy
  10. Supervise young children at play