QLD: Top five tips for EKKA safety

7 Aug 2013

The Office of Fair Trading has released its Top 5 tips for EKKA Safety to help families enjoy a safe visit to Brisbane’s annual show.

Office of Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said product safety officers had made the first of three planned visits to the EKKA to check show bags, sunglasses and prizes on offer in side show alley, with show bags first on their hit list.

“The EKKA is a Brisbane institution, and nothing says EKKA time like a show bag,” Mr Bauer said.

“Fair Trading officers have inspected 159 show bags in their bid to ensure this year’s offering is suitable for Queensland kids, only finding two items that failed to meet their safety checks and were subsequently removed.

“One of these items was a light up “Minnie” head band that was deemed to be unsafe when we found the button batteries that powered it were easily accessible to small children, posing a potentially fatal risk from choking, inhalation and severe damage to internal organs.

“During discussions with the supplier, we discovered the unsafe head band had already been supplied at a number of shows around the country between March and July, and advised the trader to conduct a national recall,” Mr Bauer said.

“The unsafe headband has now been replaced with a child friendly version for the EKKA show bags, but anyone who bought one at another Queensland show should contact the supplier for a refund or replacement.”

Mr Bauer said it was important parents remained vigilant regarding the age appropriateness of show bags and prizes, keeping in mind that younger siblings may have access to items.

“There are strict standards for toys for children under three years, particularly regarding small parts, but young children have been known to be seriously injured by their older siblings’ toys that don’t need to meet the same criteria,” Mr Bauer said.

“It is important parents consider the risks attached to any toys or show bags designed for older children, and take steps to keep them out of reach of younger hands.”

The Office of Fair Trading’s Top Five Tips for EKKA safety:

  1. Only buy show bags suitable for the age of the child
    Most show bags are not suitable for children under three, and will generally be labelled as such. Some, however, may just have individual items labelled as unsuitable. Parents should ensure they look at the contents of show bags when deciding what to buy for their kids, and quietly remove anything not suitable for their child’s age.
  2. Vet side show alley prizes
    While ‘every kid gets a prize’ signs can be alluring, you need to ensure the prize is age appropriate. Often you can choose from a range of prizes of similar value, so make sure only age appropriate prizes are included in the mix for your child.
  3. Beware of button batteries
    Button batteries can pose a choking hazard to children, and can very quickly burn a hole in the oesophagus and other organs if swallowed. Ensure any items for kids that contain button batteries have a secure, screwed on cover for the battery compartment.
  4. Ensure fake tattoos and cosmetics are labelled
    Some show bags include fake tattoos or cosmetics, and others may be given away at the show as promotional items. Unfortunately, ingredients contained in these items can sometimes cause allergic reactions, and the consequences can be severe. Before applying any of these items to your skin, ensure they are labelled with a list of ingredients. That way, if you or your child does suffer an allergic reaction to the product, your medical practitioner can quickly identify possible causes for faster, more effective treatment.
  5. Report any safety concerns
    While Fair Trading officers will be rechecking show items over the course of the show, there is always a chance that vendors may hurriedly replace a sold out item if demand outstrips expectation, and people should report anything they are concerned about to the Office of Fair Trading.

Mr Bauer said Fair Trading officers would be heading back to the showground to target sunglasses and side show alley prizes, and recheck show bags throughout the show.

For more information on product safety visit www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

For information on the “Minnie” light up head band recall, visit www.recalls.gov.au.

Contact details

Media contact: Vanessa Kendall – (07) 3247 5968