Kidsafe Victoria has urged parents to follow some safe Santa tips when buying presents for their children in the lead-up to Christmas.
General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria Jason Chambers said a high proportion of all toys sold in Australia are sold in the lead-up to Christmas and that it was important for anyone buying presents for children to take safety into account.
Every year the Consumer Affairs department in Victoria confiscates and destroys tens of thousands of imported dangerous toys which do not meet Australian standards.
Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz said: “Product safety standards play a vital role in preventing harmful products ending up in the hands of children.
“Safety is not a game and Victorian traders who sell unsafe toys risk fines up to $1.1 million,” she said.
Toy buying tips –
* Take notice of the age recommendation. These are linked to a child’s development and to safe use. When buying for an older child, think about a younger child’s potential to access the toy. A toy marked as not suitable for a child under three years may have small parts which a young child can swallow.
* Read the label and instructions. Check that the toy is non-toxic, non-flammable, carries an age recommendation, and has the distributors contact details in case there is a problem.
* Inspect the toy. Look at the quality of work and for things that might be a danger to a child, including:
– Small parts: anything smaller than a ping pong ball is a choking hazard;
– Sharp edges or points;
– Noisy toys: these can damage hearing;
– Long strings or ribbons: should be no more than 30cm long to minimize the risk of strangulation;
– Weak construction: seams that come apart or loose pieces such as eyes and buttons are a choking hazard;
– Moving parts: these can trap or pinch small fingers.
* Be aware of button batteries. Some toys, Christmas decorations and singing greeting cards contain lithium button batteries. If swallowed, these batteries can cause severe internal burns in as little as two hours.
* Remember the safety gear! When buying a bike, scooter, skateboard or rollerblades for a child, remember to get them a helmet and other safety equipment like wrist and knee guards as well. That way they can begin riding their new toy straight away!
* Be aware of toy recalls and return any faulty toys to the retailer/manufacturer.
Kidsafe Victoria has a Christmas Toy Safety fact sheet to assist parents and carers to identify possible hazards and help reduce the risk of injury for their children this Christmas.