SHOPPERS are being warned to steer clear of potentially dangerous toys in the run-up to Christmas.
A number of ‘squishy’ toys have been removed from sale by Middlesbrough Council Trading Standards officers due to a lack of appropriate labelling.
Toys should be labelled with the CE mark, any age restrictions and the name and address of the person responsible for the toy such as the importer, manufacturer or distributor.
The seized toys - in various forms such as cakes, seahorses and unicorns - were unpackaged and therefore did not carry appropriate warnings.
Samples were sent for testing and were found to be unsafe as small pieces of foam could be easily ripped off, creating a potential choking hazard to a child.
Some shops do sell legitimate and appropriately labelled ‘squishy’ toys which come with a warning that they are for use by children of over six years.
Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council’s Public Protection Manager, said: “Trading Standards officers always keep an eye on the latest toy trends and crazes, especially in the run-up to Christmas.
“These ‘squishy’ toys appeal to children but without the age restriction on the toys, parents do not know that the toy can be an issue.
“Testing has proved that there are quality concerns over these cheap toys.
“We will continue to work with traders in the area to ensure that any potential problems are dealt with at the earliest opportunity.
“It is always advisable to read any packaging before giving a toy to a child, as there are strict guidelines as to what a safe toy is.”
Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “Trading Standards play an important role in checking that products on sale in our area are safe, and that’s never more important than in the build-up to Christmas.
“In this instance the toys seized did not carry the appropriate warnings and had the potential to cause serious harm.
“I would urge all shoppers to be wary of such ‘bargains’, and always look for the appropriate safety labelling.”