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The BTHA launches Still Toying with Children’s Safety campaign

The BTHA has today launched a new campaign, calling for urgent changes to the law after it found that almost half the toys sold by third party sellers on online marketplaces could be lethal to children.

The shocking new report – entitled Still Toying with Children’s Safety – highlights how the toys could choke, strangle, burn, poison and electrocute children.

The latest findings from the BTHA’s 2021 online marketplace toy safety investigation saw 255 toys sold by third party sellers via Amazon, eBay, AliExpress and Wish randomly selected, inspected and tested.

88% were illegal and 48% were unsafe for a child to play with.

The BTHA believes that the government and online marketplaces are failing to stop the sale of unsafe products sold to unsuspecting UK consumers via third party sellers. Now, as part of a campaign that launches today (5 October), it is calling on the government to urgently change the law before a child dies or more children are seriously injured.

“It is not acceptable that unsafe and non-compliant toys are simply allowed to enter the UK market, putting children at risk of serious harm,” commented Natasha Crookes, director of public affairs at the BTHA. “We believe the government has to step in to legislate this wild-west of safety and we must see politicians from all sides of the House coming together to protect children as part of the UK review of the product safety framework in 2021.”

The BTHA represents UK-based toy manufacturers that between them are responsible for 80% of the toys sold through reputable retail in the UK.

In 2018, the BTHA’s members raised concerns about children’s toys they saw being sold via online marketplace platforms that they did not believe conformed to UK regulations. The BTHA tested that assumption by buying and testing toys. It has been doing so every year since and continues to find a disturbing and unacceptable volume of illegal and unsafe toys being sold via this channel.

The BTHA’s campaign is being spearheaded by Sam McCarthy, the mother of two year old Rebecca McCarthy, who almost died earlier this year as a result of swallowing 14 brightly coloured magnets bought from a third party seller via eBay that she thought were sweets.

Hospital x-rays revealed that the magnets were so strong that they had linked together inside her body and ruptured three parts of her intestine.

Sam has now joined forces with the BTHA to warn unwary parents: “I would hate for any other child to go through what Becca suffered because of buying dangerous toys via online marketplaces. The government needs to take urgent action before any other child is critically injured or even dies.”

An online hashtag movement has been created to coincide with the findings of the BTHA’s report, with a call to action to allow parents to join their voice to the campaign for change.

Concerned parents can visit www.toysafety.co.uk to sign a petition to put pressure on the government to change the law.

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