Government chips in on safety debate

Consumer Minister calls on the toy industry to redouble its efforts on safety.
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In advance of a specially convened summit with retailers, trade bodies and enforcement agencies being held today, consumer minister Gareth Thomas (pictured) said: “The number of unsafe toys recalled this year will be a big worry for parents as they start their Christmas shopping - so its good news that toy makers are pledging to raise their game to ensure they comply with our tough safety laws.

“The vast majority of toys are fine - but it is the few that aren't which could undermine parents' confidence. And even though most faulty toys are recalled before they ever get into a child's hands - that could still mess up a family's Christmas if it leads to shortages in popular items.

"That is why I welcome the willingness of the toy industry to address this with us now so it doesn't become a problem over the Christmas period."

The summit is an opportunity for key players to discuss what extra steps can be taken to protect children from unsafe toys.

David Hawtin, director general of the BTHA, said: “The safety of children has always been a top priority for the toy industry. We believe that the European structure for toy safety regulation is good but, with the enlargement of the EU, procedures need to be beefed up. I am pleased that the summit has been called, particularly if it helps to put the recent toy recalls into proper perspective and helps restore public confidence in the safety of childrens' toys in the UK."

Results of the discussions will be fed back to the European Commission, who are currently conducting a review of EU toy safety legislation.

Thomas also had some advice for shoppers. He said: “There are three key things people can do to shop safely. First, they can check toys for sharp edges and make sure parts like teddies' eyes can't be pulled off and swallowed by a young child. Second, they should buy the right toy for the right age. Specific warnings about toys being unsuitable for children under three years are important and most be observed. And they should always buy from an outlet they can trust - not from here today gone tomorrow rogue traders."

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