Toddler plays with an orange toy truck

Experts and toy associations have raised concerns about the safety of toys purchased through third-party sellers on online marketplaces.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) and the Royal Society for Preventing Accidents (RoSPA) are warning the public to be cautious when purchasing toys, particularly online.

The BTHA revealed in its ‘Still Toying with Children's Safety report’ that nearly half of the toys purchased from third-party sellers via online marketplaces were unsafe for children. Out of the 255 randomly selected toys inspected and tested, 88% were illegal to sell in the UK, and 48% were unsafe.

Following their investigation, BTHA are calling for urgent changes to the law to prevent the sale of dangerous toys that can put children at risk of serious injury.

Trading Standards are particularly concerned about toys containing types of banned phthalates. Phthalates are used to make plastic more durable, but their toxicity can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system at higher levels.

Cllr Hitesh Patel, cabinet member for environment, housing and public protection said: “In the lead up to Christmas, we advise everyone to exercise caution when purchasing items from an online marketplace, as third-party sellers are often not held accountable for the safety of their products.

“When doing your Christmas shopping, make sure to check the safety information and origin of the items you want to buy and report any dangerous products to Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline.”

Before you buy online, ask yourself the following:

  • Are you buying directly from an online platform or is it a third-party seller?
  • What do you know about the seller's reputation for selling safe goods?
  • Is the seller based in the UK?
  • Does the seller provide a name and address for you to contact?

If in doubt, don’t buy the product.

For consumer advice, or to report unsafe products in England and Wales, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.

16 August 2023