28 November 2017

​Christmas shoppers are being encouraged to be on their guard when buying festive toys and decorations.

It comes after a large quantity of dangerous toys were seized from two market stalls in Wellingborough last week by Northamptonshire County Council Trading Standards.

More than 500 wooden trains and carriages were found to have easily detachable wheels that pose a choking risk to children under three, while 49 battery-operated toys dogs and cats were confiscated after being found to have poor or missing labelling, easily-accessible batteries and small detachable parts.

Unsafe fairy lights

Trading Standards officers are also warning consumers to be vigilant against poorly constructed electrically unsafe Christmas decorations.  

The warning comes after examples of potentially unsafe items, including fairy lights that had melted or caught fire in customers’ homes having been found to be inadequately electrically insulated, raising the risk of electric shock, have been discovered and removed from sale in recent years.  

County council cabinet member for public protection, strategic infrastructure and economic growth Cllr André Gonzalez de Savage said: “This week is National Consumer Week, so there isn’t a better time to remind people to be sensible shoppers.

“We want people to enjoy the festive season and not be tempted by cheap seasonal offers, so we’re offering some basic consumer advice to help people make safe purchases.

“Shoppers need to be sure that if they’re buying children’s toys, they comply with safety regulations and that Christmas decorations do not pose a fire hazard.

“Anyone who would like more information about safety regulations can find out more at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.”

Advice for shoppers

Trading Standards have the following advice for Christmas shoppers:

  • Make sure toys are labelled with a CE mark and the name and address of the manufacturer or importer
  • If the toy is for a small child, look for small parts that might come off and represent a choking hazard
  • Plug-in fairy lights should also have a CE mark and include clear instructions for use
  • If possible examine lights prior to purchase for signs of shoddy or poor construction

Anyone who has concerns about a toy or electrical item they have purchased or seen on sale can contact Trading Standards by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.