12 rules to help you shop safely for children this Christmas

toy safety

The Office for Product Safety and Standards has launched ‘The 12 Rules of Christmas’, to help consumers shop safely for children’s presents this Christmas.

Working with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), Netmums, and the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), the Office is warning against buying second rate toys with 12 simple checks when buying for children.

The variety of toys on offer means the occasional second-rate product can sneak onto the market, so always complete these 12 checks when buying for kids.

  1. Look for the CE symbol: This means the manufacturer has assessed the toy for safety.
  2. Check it’s for kids: Festive novelties can look like toys. Keep them away from kids.
  3. Reputation matters: Buy from suppliers who have a good reputation for safe and reliable toys. They’ll be required to meet high standards and can answer your questions.
  4. Beware of bargains: Jumble and car boot sales are a great place to get a good deal, but it’s worth taking extra care. Worn or old toys may no longer be safe.
  5. Check age restrictions: Toys are clearly marked with age restrictions. It’s important to follow these as they relate to risks such as sharp points or choking hazards.
  6. Consider special needs: When checking age restrictions, remember that children with special needs might be more vulnerable, and make sure to shop accordingly.
  7. Choking hazards: Small parts and loose or shedding fabric or hair can be a choking hazard.
  8. Loose parts: Loose ribbons on toys and costumes can also be dangerous, especially if a child is left unsupervised. Think before you buy.
  9. Inspect your toy boxes: Check toys you already own to see if they’re too worn. Wear and tear can expose sharp edges or filling. If it’s a family favourite, get the toy properly repaired.
  10. Supervise when you need to: Some toys like chemistry sets need an adult on hand during playtime. Read all the instructions so you know how to control any hazards.
  11. Tidy up: Boxes, plastic bags and wire can be a hazard. Clear away all packaging once everything’s unwrapped.
  12. Celebrate a safe Christmas: Completing these checks when you shop in store and online can save you a lot of stress later. Just make sure to remember batteries (and dispose of these safely too)!

Help spread the word by downloading the A5 leaflet (PDF, 523KB2 pagesleaflet and Poster (PDF, 1.08MB1 pageposter. If you’re on Twitter, follow @OfficeforSandS and #12rulesofChristmas

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Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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