Keeping kids safe - over 44,700 dangerous toys seized

Published: 
7 Dec 2010
More than 44,700 toys have been seized throughout Victoria as part of a pre-Christmas toy safety blitz Consumer Affairs Director Dr Claire Noone said today.

During the blitz, inspectors from Consumer Affairs Victoria visited 173 premises all over the state including discount and independent stores as well as large chains and wholesalers and distributors.

This brings the grand total of unsafe toys seized by Consumer Affairs Victoria this year to over 54,500.

“We take the safety of consumers very seriously. Unsafe toys can cause severe injuries to some of our most vulnerable consumers – children,” Dr Noone said.

“It is our priority to ensure dangerous products are removed from the market permanently.”

The toys that were seized failed to meet current bans and mandatory standards. This included over:
  • 28,000 grow toys which are small enough to be swallowed
  • 2,000 projectile toys such as toy guns which can misfire and cause eye injuries
  • 4,400 yo yo balls which pose a hazard of strangulation
  • 10,200 toys designed for children under three that pose various hazards.
During inspections, Consumer Affairs inspectors were looking for a range of hazards including:
  • toys with small parts
  • high speed projectiles
  • sharp edges or points.
The blitz was undertaken as part of a pre-Christmas surveillance program that also includes the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and other state and territory agencies as part of a national effort to crack down on dangerous toys.

“This is a great example of how Consumer Affairs Victoria works effectively with state, territory and Commonwealth agencies to ensure products meet required standards,” Dr Noone said.

“It is timely given that Australian Consumer Law (ACL) will come into effect at a national, state and territory level from 1 January 2011.”

Tougher penalties will also be introduced under the ACL, from the current maximum fine of more than $70,000 increasing to $220,000 for individuals and $1.1 million for corporations. Suppliers who fail to comply with product bans face criminal charges.

As part of the pre-Christmas crack down, a team of 17 from Consumer Affairs Victoria undertook a coordinated blitz on four large retailers, seizing a range of non-compliant goods including rattles, battery operated toys, early learning toys and yo yo balls.

When buying toys for children, consumers are advised to:
  • check for sharp edges or rough surfaces that could cause cuts and splinters
  • buy sturdy, non-breakable toys for babies and young children
  • buy toys that are age-appropriate and ensure that young children do not play with toys meant for older children
  • check for gaps or holes that could trap fingers
  • be careful about toys that make loud noises as they could be harmful to ears
  • remove any loose magnets from toy boxes, as these pose particular dangers if swallowed, and
  • always supervise babies and young children while they play.

Contact details

For more important product safety information, contact the Toy and Nursery Safety Line on freecall 1300 36 48 94 or view Consumer Affairs Victoria's Product safety section.