AS Christmas approaches Cornwall Trading Standards is urging people to buy from reputable local stores rather than unverified online sellers and rogue traders.
It warns that when buying toys, people should always look for the CE mark. This shows a commitment from the toy-maker that the item complies with EU safety rules.
They should also check the item is suitable for the child’s age. Toys with small pieces should not be given to younger children because they could easily choke on the parts.
Jane Tomlinson, quality standards manager at Cornwall’s Trading Standards, said: “If something looks too good to be true it usually is.
“You often find copies and fakes online but while the price tag is appealing, these can be really poor-quality items. They can be made from cheaper materials and fall apart more easily. It’s always better to go to a retailer you can trust and then if something does go wrong they are more likely to offer refunds and returns.”
Parents and carers are urged to regularly check children’s toys to ensure there are no loose parts or shedding hair and that batteries and magnets remain secure.
Families are also urged to take extra care with items containing lithium button batteries. If swallowed these can cause serious damage. These batteries, which can be found in children’s toys, musical Christmas cards, remote controls and lots of other electronic items, react with saliva causing a build-up of caustic soda which acts like acid eating through flesh.
When no longer needed, button batteries should be safely recycled at supermarkets or Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs).
Cllr Rob Nolan, portfolio holder for environment and public protection, said: “Christmas is a really special time of year for families and no one wants to see a child get hurt.
“Now lockdown is over we can support our local shops and feel confident that the presents we buy are safe. When it comes to children we have to put safety first.”