TRADING Standards officers at Thurrock have issued advice on ways for parents to make sure their children stay safe during the festive period.
All parents should look out for the Lion Mark – a symbol of safety and quality.
Toys bearing the mark have been made to the highest standards currently in force in Britain and the European Union and the symbol is also used by “approved Lion Mark Retailer” shops to indicate that all toys sold meet these standards.
Thurrock Council portfolio holder for Public Protection, Cllr Angie Gaywood, said: “We all know that for many people finances are tight but finding a Christmas present bargain will not be such great value for money if the toy breaks quickly or even worse, causes an injury to a child.
“Guidelines and quality marks are used for a reason to provide help and advice and security. It is important that any parent or anyone buying toys for children takes note of these.”
Additional advice from Trading Standards includes:
Small children can easily choke on small objects and the under-threes are especially at risk from putting things in their mouths to explore the shape and texture so any safety message such as “not suitable for children under 36 months because of small parts”, should be taken very seriously.
Messages such as “recommended for children aged 3-4” or “play age 5-7” are discretionary guidelines. Age guidelines can help decide if the toy will be fun for your child to play with and if it will prove stimulating.
Always ask to see any toy out of its box and check that it is sturdy and well made. It’s especially important to look over toys for babies and toddlers to make sure there are no small pieces that can come loose or seams that may come apart.
Often a toy is well-designed and safe but causes problems when it gets into the wrong hands. A building brick that is safe, interesting and educational for an older child can be lethal if a toddler chokes on it for example.