A crackdown on discount stores, pop-up shops, markets and online websites had seen 95 non-compliant toy products pulled from shelves across Sydney in the lead up to Christmas, NSW Fair Trading Minister, Matthew Mason-Cox said today.
A talking Thomas the Tank Engine toy and a Gangnam style dream bus were among the many dangerous toys seized and destroyed today, as part of this year’s annual toy compliance checks, Mr Mason-Cox said.
“This particular Peppa Pig and family squeaky toy set appeared cute and harmless but when put through testing were found to present multiple hazards to small children, including choking or a child ingesting or inhaling them,’’ Mr Mason-Cox said.
“A super combat gun and an archery set was also found to pose serious eye injuries to children.”
This year’s blitz had seen a sharp rise in the number of non-compliant toys over last year but only because NSW Fair Trading expanded its focus beyond established retailers, Mr Mason-Cox said.
“Online stores had been targeted as part of this year’s operation for the first time because more people are buying their gifts using this method,’’ he said.
“We also targeted businesses importing directly from manufacturers and are setting up in large shopping centres often moving from one location to another in the lead up to Christmas."
"NSW Fair Trading officers visited 738 premises and examined 17,822 products across the state in its toys safety blitz."
"More than 14,200 of the products examined were designed for children under 36 months of age.’’
The haul of dangerous products included:
- 73 types of children’s toys for children aged under three;
- 18 projectile toys that had the potential to cause eye injury
- 4 aquatic products
"NSW Fair Trading will be unrelenting in its approach to detect and prosecute traders who put consumers at risk through this type of behaviour,’’ Mr Mason-Cox said.
“NSW Fair Trading is investigating the retailers from this year’s toy compliance operation with a view to enforcement action."
“These retailers are putting the lives of very young children at risk by trading in non-compliant products. “It is inexcusable and we will not hesitate to throw the book at retailers which are caught doing the wrong thing.’’
Last year, NSW Fair Trading inspected 788 premises across the state – primarily established retailers - and examined 24,809 products. More than 60 products failed testing and as a result 24 penalty infringement notices were issued totalling $13,200.
NSW Fair Trading has successfully prosecuted a number of business owners in the past year for breaching safety standards in the sale of children’s toys under Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
So far this year, nine traders have been prosecuted for offences under the ACL, resulting in $44,305 in fines and costs.
Mr Mason-Cox urged consumers to be vigilant when purchasing gifts, especially toys this Christmas. “Be wary of stores that pop-up around this time of year and only buy goods from reputable retailers,” he said.
Choice also supports the toy safety compliance checks and tested some of the toys removed from the stores in their laboratories.
“No one wants to find a killer toy under the Christmas tree and we welcome NSW Fair Trading's decision to send these toys to the crusher,” said Choice spokesperson Tom Godfrey.
The toy campaign forms part of a national product safety strategy jointly implemented by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and State and Territory product safety regulators.
“Retailers need to be well aware of their product safety responsibilities,” Mr Mason-Cox said.
“This year, as part of an educational campaign, traders were supplied with a USB containing information on product safety, mandatory standards and bans, and selling safe products and electrical goods.’’
The Australian Consumer Law puts the responsibility of selling 'safe' products on the suppliers/traders. Suppliers commit an offence if they supply children’s toys that do not comply with the mandatory requirements of the Australian/New Zealand 'Safety of Toys' standard.
Individuals face fines of up to $220,000 for an individual or $1.1million for corporation.
NSW Fair Trading Media Unit
Telephone (02) 9619 8797