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BTHA calls for government action on unsafe toys

Move comes after study of online platforms found 58% of toys selected were non-compliant with safety regulations.

The British Toy and Hobby Association has launched a white paper calling for action from the government to ensure unsafe toys are removed from the market.

The move comes after conducting a study across online platforms that found 58% of toys selected for assessment were non-compliant with the toy safety regulations in the UK and 22% of the total had serious safety issues.

The BTHA – which represents responsible toy makers across the UK – has been actively raising awareness that toys sold by third-party sellers on online marketplaces pose significant safety risks for the British public.

“The BTHA has been testing toys on online marketplaces and finding concerning levels of illegal and unsafe toys,” stated Natasha Crookes, director of communications for the BTHA. “We have been sharing the results with the platforms and regulators to call for change. We are concerned that unsafe and illegal products are not removed fast enough and identical products remain on sale.

“There are gaps in the UK regulations which allow the sellers and the marketplaces to not be held to account and for unsafe toys to continue to be available to UK consumers. We call on government to close that gap before a child is seriously injured or killed by an unsafe toy.”

Members of the BTHA reported concerns to the association that they believed there was an increasing number of unsafe toys reaching children in the UK through third-party sellers on online marketplaces. The BTHA has sample purchased 200 toys from the largest marketplaces and found 58% of those toys were illegal to sell in the UK as they failed to comply with safety requirements, such as having incorrect labels and no address to be able to trace the seller.

Even more worryingly of the 200 toys 22% had serious safety failures which could cause serious injury or death to a child.

Many of the toys have been sent for independent laboratory testing and the assessment results were verified by a panel of industry experts including expert representatives from suppliers, retailers, laboratories and trading standards.

The BTHA has informed the various marketplaces, their Primary Authority Trading Standards Office (where they have one), the BTHA’s own Primary Authority Trading Standards Office and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).

Some of the toys highlighted were removed from sale, but not all – and identical products still remain on sale today.

Since undertaking the testing of these toys, the BTHA has been trying to call for changes to be made as many of the sellers fall outside the jurisdiction of UK enforcement authorities.

In addition, the online platforms do not have a clear role under the current UK product safety legislation, when it comes to the role they play in the supply chain, and what responsibility they have for checking the toys on their sites are safe or legal to sell in the UK. There are no clear legal requirements for the online marketplace platforms to check the safety of the products that are sold via their platform.

You can read the full report on the BTHA website by clicking here.

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