The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is urging shoppers to look for the CE safety mark on toys or their packaging.
As Christmas approaches, there is usually a significant increase in the sale of unsafe or hazardous products, mainly toys and gadgets.
Working with the various other bodies, including customs and the gardaí, the commission prevents unsafe products from entering the market.
Faulty electrical toys can lead to fires or electrocution, and inferior materials can break and cause injuries.
The commission says that a toy is any product intended to be played with by a child under the age of 14.
The CE mark shows that the toy has undergone safety testing in the design and manufacturing process and met the required safety standards.
“If the toy does not have the official CE mark, or does not have the CE mark at all, don’t buy it,” a commission spokesperson advised.
As well as checking for a real CE mark, other checks can be made such as ensuring that the manufacturer’s name and full address is visible.
There should also be warnings on toys stating that they might be dangerous for babies or young children. All warnings and safety instructions should be clear, written in English and easy to read and understand. Retailers are by law required to ensure that the products they sell conform to EU and Irish standards.
“If you are buying from a street trader or buying secondhand, it is particularly important to carefully check the toy before buying,” said the spokesperson.
Shoppers should look out for other dangers such as the age range, particularly the ‘0 to 3’ symbol that indicates if it is suitable for a younger child.
Parents should also think about their younger children who might be in danger if they play with the toy.
Anyone who comes across a toy that seems unsafe or does not have a CE mark should not buy it and contact the commission on its helpline.
“We can take action against a business that does not comply with the law,” said the spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children is urging parents to think cyber safety this Christmas and take steps to protect their children as they navigate the wealth of possibilities presented by their new devices. The ISPCC, and the Vodafone Ireland Foundation, have developed a six-step ‘how to’ guide to help parents keep children safer online.
“The ISPCC has called, and will continue to call, for the introduction of a national strategy on children’s cyber safety to keep Ireland’s children safer online,” said ISPCC chief executive Grainia Long.