Help alert families to dangerous toys this Christmas

Pamela Prentice, Campaigns Manager, Child Accident Prevention Trust, provides some top tips to help people shop safely for little ones this Christmas

Many people will be looking for bargain toys online this Christmas due to Covid-19 restrictions and extra financial pressures.

Worryingly, an increasing number of toys bought from third party sellers via online marketplaces may not meet UK safety standards.

Online marketplaces are simply offering a shop window to sellers around the world and aren’t legally required to check if a toy is safe before allowing it to be sold.

Dangers can include:

  • Magnets so strong they can burn through a child’s gut if swallowed
  • Long cords that can strangle a child
  • Small parts that can choke or suffocate
  • Easy access to button batteries that can get stuck in a child’s food pipe, cause internal bleeding and even death.

This Christmas, the Child Accident Prevention Trust is offering advice to help families buy toys safely.

We advise parents that, if they are able to, to buy direct via the websites of well-known brand names. 

If they’re buying from an online marketplace, they can enter a reputable brand name when they search for the toy to be sure it’s safe.

We’re also providing advice on how to spot clues that a toy could be dangerous.

Tips include: 

  • If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is - it costs manufacturers money to make toys safe
  • Babies and toddlers put nearly everything in their mouths, which is why toys not designed for this age group need to state ‘not suitable for under 3s’ or have a warning symbol. Under 3s may choke on small parts or loose hair, so be wary of toys which feature small or loose parts and have no age warning
  • Look out for suspicious reviews. If they look like they’re copied from a toy’s leaflet, sound very similar or were written on the same day, they could be fake
  • Find out where the company is based. If they’re based outside the UK or EU, the toys may not comply with UK safety standards.

You can help CAPT spread the word by passing on our advice to the parents you support.

There are free resources available, including:

  • A short article you can copy and paste into your communications for families
  • Simple tips to help parents spot potentially dangerous toys for sale online
  • Facebook and Twitter posts you can share on your own channels.

You can find out more about the campaign and get involved at 

Thank you for your help!