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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Are toys safe? An audit by the Trade Inspection Authority

< previous | next > 18.12.2018

Are toys safe? An audit by the Trade Inspection Authority
  • Building blocks, dolls, stuffed animals - these are great holiday gifts for children.
  • While buying a toy, check whether any small parts are falling off or if the mascot does not break at the seams.
  • UOKiK suggests what to look for when choosing a gift.

[Warsaw, December xx, 2018] In the third quarter of 2018, the Trade Inspection Authority once again checked the toys. In total, inspectors checked 551 toys at 65 entrepreneurs (mainly in small and large stores and warehouses) in seven voivodeships. They impugned
33 per cent of inspected toys (182), both for structural and for formal reasons.

103 toys have been tested in the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection laboratories in Lublin and £ód¼. For security reasons, experts impugned 33 of them (32% of those surveyed). Irregularities concerned the construction, workmanship or chemical properties of the materials used.

The most common irregularities

  • Toys had small components that could cause choking or suffocation (e.g. dolls’ shoes).
  • In stuffed plush toys the seams were ripping apart – children gained easy access to the stuffing matter, which put them at risk of choking.
  • The knots in the swings were incorrectly made, they could untie, the swings also posed a danger of trapping the head and neck in the holes.
  • The toys had splinters that caused wounds or abrasions.

Laboratory tests showed that the permissible level of phthalates was exceeded in four toys. Phthalates are substances that soften and increase the flexibility of plastic materials, but they can cause hormonal changes, fertility problems and increase the risk of asthma and allergies. The highest observed concentration was about 30 per cent versus an acceptable level of 0.01 per cent.

Many toys did not have the required marking. The most common errors are:

  • Lack of details of the manufacturer or the importer.
  • Lack of CE marking.
  • Lack of instructions and warnings in Polish language.
  • Lack of documents confirming that the assessment of compliance with applicable requirements has been conducted (e.g. declaration of conformity).

In case of these shortcomings, the Trade Inspectorate requested entrepreneurs to voluntarily remove irregularities. UOKiK has already initiated several administrative proceedings in connection with irregularities affecting the safety of toys, and is considering initiating subsequent ones.

When buying toys, please check:

  • Whether the manufacturer's or importer's details are featured on the packaging or on the toy – then you know who is responsible for its safety.
  • Whether they are suitable for the child's age. Buy those that are appropriate to the child’s stage of development.
  • Whether the manufacturer placed the CE marking - this confirms compliance with the applicable requirements and declares that the toy is safe.
  • Whether the folding mechanisms (e.g. in dolls’ carriages, folding chairs) have a restrictor or a safety lock.
  • Whether stiff materials that a child can put in their mouth (such as a harmonica, flute), are rounded, not sharp.
  • Whether in toys into which a child can enter (e.g. a tent, a play-house) the door or cover opens freely - there should be no buttons or zip fasteners in the doors and covers.
  • And has the manufacturer attached an instruction? If the product needs to be assembled, the assembly instruction in Polish is necessary.
  • Whether there are warnings on the toys. If so, follow them.
  • Whether the toys, especially those for youngest ones, have small parts. Children could swallow them.
  • Whether the stuffing materials in the stuffed plush toys have any hard or sharp contaminants, such as metal pieces, nails, needles, splinters.
  • Whether the cords or strings are not too long. In toys intended for children under three years of age, the cords/strings may have a maximum length of 22 cm.
  • Whether the links in the swings are not too thin or the knots untie too easily.
  • Whether the toys are listed in the register of non-compliant products on UOKiK website or in the European RAPEX system. A dangerous toy you can also report to the Trade Inspection Authority or Market Surveillance Department in UOKiK.

More advice you can find in the UOKiK guide.

Consumer support:

Phone: +48 801 440 220 or +48 22 290 89 16 – consumer helpline
Email: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
the Consumer Federation Branches
Consumer ombudsmen – in your town or district

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office 
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warsaw
Phone: +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 246
Email: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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