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Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection (1) what steps he is taking to tighten up the standards of toy safety; if he will ensure that the same rigid standards are applied to all imported toys; and if he will make a statement;(2) what studies he has made of the selling and importation of dangerous toys; what representations on dangerous toys he has received recently and if he will give details of these in the

Official Report; what steps he is taking to minimise the danger from such toys; and if he will make a statement.

The technical committee of the British Standards Institution concerned with toys, on which my Department is represented, is participating in the preparation by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) of a comprehensive safety standard for toys which is to be the basis of an EEC directive. This, when adopted, will be implemented by all member States. In the meantime, all toys offered for sale in this country, including imported toys, must comply with the Toys (Safety) Regulations 1974, which already cover the major hazards.Since January this year, my Department has received 103 complaints about dangerous toys, of which 59 were found to be justified. Most of these toys have been modified or withdrawn from sale following approaches to the manufacturers or importers concerned. The hazards identified were as follows:

Sharp edges and points14
Small toys and parts26

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what are the latest figures available for the number of accidents attributed to dangerous toys; if he will classify these, indicating the type of accident; and if he will make a statement.

As indicated in the report published by my Department last month summarising the data collected during the first six months of operation of the Home Accident Surveillance System, 351 out of 30,000 home accidents recorded by the 20 participating hospitals during that period involved toys. A study of the data has shown that 244 of these accidents were in no way attributable to defects in the toys. The classification of the remaining 107 cases where the toys may have been to blame is as follows:

Ingestion and objects stuck in ears, nose and mouth85
Injuries caused by sharp edges and points14
Fingers or hand trapped by part of toy8
These initial data are insufficient to produce accurate national estimates.