Importer to recall 1,800 toys
3 November 1998
Toy importer Geeta Trading Limited will tomorrow begin to recall 1,800 toys which do not meet the toy safety standard.
Commerce Commission Fair Trading Manager Rachel Leamy said that the toy safety standard exists to prevent choking hazards for young children.
The safety standard applies to toys for children aged up to three years because up to that age they do not have a properly developed coughing reflex and may not cough if an object sticks in their throat. It requires that toys, and parts of toys that can be removed or break off, be bigger than a measuring cylinder about the size of a 35mm film canister.
In this case plastic toys are being recalled because they include removable parts that are too small to meet the standard. The toys are a pink elephant, a brown dog and a blue train, all on wheels. Also being recalled is a green elephant with numbers and letters that children put into holes in the elephant.
The toys were available from King Kong shops only. The toys should be returned to any King Kong shop for a full cash refund. People can also contact Geeta Trading on (09) 270 0500.
In a settlement with the Commission, Geeta Trading has given signed undertakings that it will:
- publish recall notices in the Northern Advocate, New Zealand Herald, Manawatu Evening Standard, the Levin Chronicle and the Dominion;
- offer a full refund to all customers who bought the toys;
- ensure that the toys are removed from all retail outlets it supplied;
- ensure that the recalled toys are not resupplied for sale;
- implement a compliance programme to ensure compliance with the Fair Trading Act, with particular emphasis on the toy safety standard; and
- have the Commission publicise this settlement.
Background - other cases this year
Toy safety was highlighted previously this year when the Commission investigated a case where part of a toy broke off and stuck in a child's throat. Fortunately, adults were present and removed the piece of toy from the girl's throat before she choked.
The toy was a party blow out. Importers have replaced the brands of party blow outs which do not meet the standard with ones that do.
"People must understand that this is not a labelling standard," Ms Leamy said. "Simply labelling toys 'unsuitable for children under three' does not get around it. Toys that are marketed or suitable for under threes must comply with the standard. It is not the label that matters. What counts is whether the toy, or parts of it, are small enough to be a choking hazard."
The labelling issue was illustrated before Easter this year when Barney the dinosaur Easter eggs were labelled as not suitable for children under five years. Toys too small to meet the safety standard were packaged with the eggs.
The Commission had a child psychologist check the eggs and was advised that using Barney to promote the eggs made the marketing very attractive to children under three. The manufacturer recalled the eggs and, having removed the toys, resold them at a lower price.
Media contact: Fair Trading Manager Rachel Leamy
Phone work (04) 498 0908
Communications Officer Vincent Cholewa
Phone work (04) 498 0920
Commission media releases can be viewed on its web site www.comcom.govt.nz