Customs reminds parents about toy safety
25 Oct 2012
The Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) today (October 25) reminded parents to watch out for the potential hazards posed by toys and to pay attention to the warnings and usage instructions on toys.
With Halloween just around the corner, Customs officers recently conducted spot checks on toy retailers and sent 25 samples of various Halloween toys for safety tests by the Government Laboratory. The samples included toy masks, balloons, face painting kits, party toys and costume accessories.
According to the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance, all toys supplied locally must be structurally safe and bear appropriate warning labels together with the name and local address of the suppliers. Test results indicated that all samples had passed relevant structural safety tests but samples of six types of toys were found not bearing the local address of suppliers and relevant warning labels. Customs will take follow up action in this regard.
A Customs spokesman said, "To ensure the safety of toys on sale in the market, the department will continue to conduct spot checks on retailers and take samples for safety tests. Outreaching seminars will also be organised for the trade regularly to promote their awareness of and compliance with the ordinance."
Parents should take note of the following toy safety tips:
- pay attention to age recommendations on labels when choosing toys and never choose toys for children under three years old which are suitable only for children over three;
- read and follow all instructions on the toys;
- keep small balls and marbles out of children's reach since they are particularly dangerous to children aged under 3;
- beware of tiny toys and toys with small, removable parts, which might be swallowed and inhaled by children, causing suffocation;
- beware of moveable segments that might pinch or crunch fingers;
- note that some clay toy sets, bubble guns, sand painting toy sets, toy planes and toy swords might contain sharp points and edges causing laceration hazards to children;
- beware of the paint on toy sets that might contain an excessive level of heavy metal, such as lead, which is harmful to children's kidneys;
- do not let children put a sound-producing device close to their ears;
- keep deflated balloons away from children and discard broken balloons at once as children under eight can choke or be suffocated if a deflated or broken balloon is swallowed;
- make sure batteries in the toys are properly installed and not accessible to a child. It is dangerous to mix old and new batteries, or to mix alkaline with carbon-zinc batteries, or rechargeable with non-rechargeable batteries;
- dispose properly of all plastic bags for packaging of toys and children's products, as plastic bags might suffocate young children; and
- pay attention to the usage instructions of toys that are to be used under the direct supervision of an adult.
To report unsafe toys and children's products, the public may call the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or write to the Consumer Protection Bureau (1), C&ED, at 14/F, Customs Headquarters Building, 222 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong.
Ends/Thursday, October 25 2012