Loom Bands have been the craze of the year. And for good reason - lots of children and lots of adults have been having lots of fun with them.
Are they crafts? Art? Fashion items? Construction toys?
They are all the above and they are being enjoyed by so many across the generations.
But the media have raised some concerns on the back of the craze, which can of course accompany new playthings.
Here are some general pointers from the BTHA:
Reputable companies design toys using materials that conform to safety requirements, test materials and products where necessary and keep technical files on the toys they produce to prove conformity to strict safety regulations.
British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) members use materials that are either checked for chemical content under Toy Safety and REACH restrictions or are risk assessed to ensure they are unlikely to contain the materials restricted within toys.
Everybody, particularly retailers, should be aware of untested cheaper products using materials that may contain restricted chemicals or materials where compliance has not been checked, particularly given the huge popularity of the Loom craze which has encouraged non-experts in toys to import products which they may not fully understand from a toy safety perspective.
Loom bands should not be given to children under three years of age and therefore should carry a ‘not suitable for nought to three ages’ warning and all toys should carry the CE mark for sale in the UK.
The BTHA suggests consumers buy toys from reputable retailers that they would trust to know how to sell safe toys and who understand their obligations under the strict toy safety legislation.
Parents will want to know their children are playing safely.
Our general advice applies to Loom Bands as for other toys: Always read the labels on toys and ensure that they are suitable for the age of the child playing with them.
Keep toys with small parts away from younger siblings and pets to avoid any chance of swallowing small parts which could causing choking hazards.
With Loom Bands in particular make sure the child does not wrap a single Loom Band or too short a length around fingers, wrists etc which could cut off blood supply, and they should not be flicked at other children for obvious safety reasons.
And as with any toy, Loom Bands should be played with in the way that is intended.