Tyco recalls and exchanges Magna Doodle toy parts
3 October 1996
One of the worlds largest toy manufacturers, Tyco, is recalling and exchanging parts of its Magna Doodle drawing set as part of a settlement with the Commerce Commission.
Magna Doodle is Tyco's biggest seller in New Zealand, and world-wide, 40 million sets have been sold.
Commission Chairman Dr Alan Bollard said the Commission's view was that the Magna Doodle parts recalled were too small to meet the children's toys product safety standard. Tyco is exchanging them for larger pieces that do meet the standard.
The standard applies to toys for children up to three years old and prohibits small pieces because they are a choking hazard.
Although the Magna Doodle was labelled as not suitable for children under three, the Commission's view was that it was suitable for children aged two and above.
"I am pleased with Tyco's response," Dr Bollard said, "but it should not have let the problem occur in the first place. Toys that do not meet the safety standard are a hazard that can choke children.
"Now, the company is taking responsible action to fix the problem that exists and to ensure that no further problems occur with other toys."
Tyco is reviewing all the toys it sells or advertises in New Zealand. Those which are suitable for young children will be tested to ensure that they comply with the safety standard. It will also check all toys it may sell or advertise in future to ensure they too meet the standard.
Any toys which do not meet the standard will be withdrawn and re-designed to ensure that they do meet it.
Tyco has signed undertakings to:
- recall and exchange Magna Doodle pieces that are too small to meet the toy safety standard
- assess all toys it now supplies or advertises to ensure that they meet the safety standard
- assess all toys it may supply or advertise in future to ensure that they meet the safety standard
- withdraw and re-design any toys which do not meet the standard
- assess all its toys to determine the age range they suit
- ensure that all toys are suitably labelled
- have the Commission assess the actions it has taken
- have the Commission publicise this settlement.
Dr Bollard said there is an important message in this settlement for all other manufacturers, retailers and other businesses selling or advertising toys.
They must carefully assess what ages their toys are suitable for. Simply labelling toys as 'unsuitable for children under three' does not meet, nor avoid, the standard.
"It is a safety standard not a labelling standard. It does not specify labels of any kind. It applies to any toy for children up to three years old, irrespective of how it is labelled."
Media contact:Fair Trading Manager Rachel Leamy
Phone work (04) 498 0908, home (04) 386 3110
Communications Officer Vincent Cholewa
Phone work (04) 498 0920, home (04) 479 1432
The Fair Trading Act gives the Minister of Consumer Affairs the power to make product safety standards mandatory under the Fair Trading Act.
Currently, three product safety standards are enforced through this Act.
They are for:
- toys for children aged up to three (Up to this age children do not have a properly developed coughing reflex. If something sticks in their throat they may not cough, and would then need to be helped to prevent choking.)
- night-clothes for children aged from six months to fourteen years (this standard applies to flammability)