Essex parents warned of discount toy dangers

PUBLISHED: 09:57 23 March 2017 | UPDATED: 22:44 26 March 2017

The 4D Magic Light Car. Photo: ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL

The 4D Magic Light Car. Photo: ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL

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Parents are being warned about the dangers of toys brought from market stalls and discount stores after an Essex investigation revealed retailers were selling child products with unsafe battery casings.

A button cell battery found in the toy. Photo: ESSEX COUNTY COUNCILA button cell battery found in the toy. Photo: ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL

Easily accessible button batteries not only pose a choking hazard to young children, but once eaten can release an alkali chemical which can cause permanent damage to the throat.

Ten toys were brought from low-cost shops and market stalls across Essex between November and January by Trading Standards officers and tested.

Three were found to have small, easily accessible batteries and one, a toy car, broke into small parts when dropped, posing a choking hazard alongside the additional suffocation risk of the packaging.

Hazel Davies, secretary of Essex-based charity Parents’ Aid, said: “The safety of our children is paramount to all parents, and a lot of poorer families rely on manufacturers’ know-how and integrity when it comes to buying discount toys.

The Fun Car. Photo: Essex County CouncilThe Fun Car. Photo: Essex County Council

“They rely on the fact that if the packaging says the toy is suitable for children of that age, that it is.”

Following advice from Trading Standards, the business responsible for importing the toy car has had all remaining stock destroyed.

Other businesses are liaising with Trading Standards and re-designing and re-labelling toys to make them safe before selling them to the public.

Anne Brown, county councillor for communities, said: “Parents should always check that the battery compartment for toys is secured by a screw, so that small children cannot swallow the batteries and cause life-changing injuries.

“You should always check the quality of the toy you’re buying and remove packaging, before giving them to young children.

“If your child swallows a button cell battery seek medical attention immediately as there are serious risks of internal chemical burns.”

Essex Trading Standards have issued a warning to parents encouraging them to make sure the toys their children play with have the appropriate safety features.

On March 14 Trading Standards officers publicised the dangers of small batteries in toys to 300 Year Five children from Uttlesford schools, at a careers fair hosted by Great Dunmow St Mary’s primary school.

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