The Customs and Excise Department has tested the safety of toy lanterns to protect consumer interest, as the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is around the corner.
Customs officers conducted 132 spot checks on retailers supplying battery-operated toy lanterns and light sticks. Twelve models of battery-operated toy lanterns and a model of light stick were sent to the Government Laboratory for safety tests.
Of these models, 10 toy lanterns and the light stick passed the tests. Two toy lanterns were found with problems.
Of the problematic lanterns, one was with accessible sharp points at the end of the metal wires posing danger to children. It also did not carry the required instructions on safe battery usage, such as "Do not mix old and new batteries" and "Do not mix alkaline, standard (carbon-zinc), or rechargeable (nickel-cadmium) batteries”. Besides, correct battery polarity and voltage were not marked on the battery compartment while the name and address of the local manufacturer, importer or supplier were not shown.
The other unsafe toy lantern was found to have accessible slits next to the movable segments at the bottom of the lantern. There was the danger of trapping the fingers of children.
These two unsafe lanterns were contained in an elastic plastic bag of thickness less than 0.03810 mm, posing suffocation hazard to children.
Hong Kong Customs has served the two concerned retailers with Prohibition Notices , prohibiting their supply of the toys concerned.
Of the 13 tested samples, seven had sound-producing features. The Government Laboratory confirmed that these lanterns complied with the requirement of the peak emission sound pressure level prescribed by the European Standard.
The Chief Trade Controls Officer, Mr Ng Hing-tong, today (September 9) reminded parents to watch out for potential hazards of battery-operated lanterns and light sticks when selecting toys for their children.
Tips to guard against potential risks are as follows:
In 2007, the Department conducted 130 spot checks on various retailers which supplied battery-operated toy lanterns and light sticks, and served eight suppliers with written warnings under the Toys and Children’s Products Safety Ordinance for supplying unsafe lanterns.
Under the Ordinance, it is an offence to manufacture, import or supply a toy unless the toy complies with one of the prescribed safety standards.
The Ordinance carries a maximum penalty of a fine of $100,000 and an imprisonment for one year on first conviction; and a fine of $500,000 and an imprisonment for two years on subsequent conviction.
To report about unsafe toys and children's products, consumers may call the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or write to the Consumer Protection Bureau, Customs and Excise Department at 11/F, North Point Government Offices, 333 Java Road, North Point.
An unsafe toy lantern has accessible sharp points at the end of the metal wires which might pose danger to children. It is contained in an elastic plastic bag of thickness less than 0.03810 mm, posing suffocation hazard to children.
An unsafe toy lantern is found to have accessible slits next to the movable segments at the bottom of the lantern. There is the danger of trapping their fingers of children. The toy is contained in an elastic plastic bag of thickness less than 0.03810 mm, posing suffocation hazard to children.
Ends/Tuesday, September 9, 2008