Holiday shoppers beware: play it safe when buying toys and gifts

The NSW Government is reminding parents and grandparents to exercise caution when buying toys and other children’s gifts this holiday season.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said that leading into the Christmas period, it is important shoppers are aware of the risks of purchasing dangerous toys.

It is fantastic to see Australians embracing the Christmas spirit and many of us looking forward to being reunited with our friends and families after months of separation, but it is important that we celebrate the festive season as safely as possible,” Mr Anderson said.

Retailers have a responsibility to ensure their products do not cause injury to children, but not every retailer plays by the rules so we need to exercise caution when purchasing gifts for our loved ones.”

Kevin Anderson, Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation

Since 2019, NSW Fair Trading has received 388 complaints relating to unsafe toys. Of those, 279, or 72 percent, related to toys bought online.

“When shopping for Christmas toys and gifts online this year, purchasers need to take a minute to think about whether or not this toy could pose a hazard to their little ones,” Mr Anderson said.

“Each year we see a range of toys that are dangerous or inappropriate, from things that can shoot, choke, cut or burn, there are many toys out there that should not make their way into the hands of a child.

“The NSW Government is working to ensure these toys never reach the market, and if they do, it is important that consumers are educated enough not to give them to kids where they could become lethal.”

Some of the toys that have been confiscated this year and are scheduled to be destroyed include:

  • A penguin cigarette lighter;
  • Toy guns and other toys with choking hazard projectiles or easily removable small parts;
  • Sponge toys with extendable string pieces that are strangling hazards;
  • Magnet toys with choking hazard small magnet balls;
  • A  “crown hat” decoration with flammable plastic leaves;
  • Battery operated toys with easily openable battery cavities, giving children easy access to choking hazard batteries;
  • A battery operated toy duck that lays choking hazard plastic eggs;
  • Small “pen” batteries that are a choking hazard.

There are simple steps consumers can take to ensure the gifts they buy are safe. Do your research before buying Christmas toys and make sure they are compliant, safe, and age-appropriate.

Consumers who have inadvertently bought an unsafe toy are entitled to a refund and are able to report businesses for unsafe toys. If they are unable to resolve the problem with the shop, they can lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading.

Mr Anderson said the NSW Government routinely visits businesses to check product safety.

“Earlier this year we issued a fine after inspectors found choking hazards and flammable pyjamas at a toy shop in Cabramatta. We also seized and destroyed the dangerous stock,” Mr Anderson said.

“To everyone out there shopping for toys, have a very Merry Christmas but do take a minute to consider the toys you are buying, and let’s keep our kids safe.”

For more information on children’s products and toys visit Fairtrading NSW.