Hampshire Trading Standards issues checklist to spot unsafe toys this Christmas

Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service is reminding parents and carers to follow a toy safety checklist to help children to stay safe this Christmas.

Dec 23 2021

Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation, Heritage and Rural Affairs, Councillor Edward Heron, said: “Just because a toy is new, does not automatically mean it’s safe. A quick check of presents using our safety guide could save lives this Christmas.

“Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards team works closely with our Scientific Service unit to regularly assess whether consumer items meet legal safety standards. The most common ‘fails’ include copycat toys that mimic popular brand-name products, or items that could be a choking or strangulation threat to a small child. This includes flat or button batteries and strong magnets, which if swallowed can be fatal.”

Toy safety guidance for parents and carers:


  • Buy from trusted places – if the price is too good to be true, there may be a problem. Look out for cheap ‘knock-offs’ that can be copycats of popular branded toys
  • Look out for the CE or UKCA safety mark which shows products are ‘fit for purpose’ but be alert for fakes – many imported products feature fake packaging and mimic well-known brands, and be cautious, online sites are not responsible for the safety of the items they sell
  • Avoid toys with small parts that present a choking hazard to small children under 3 years of age – check for loose parts regularly
  • Check that flat or button batteries are securely contained behind a screwed down lid or one that has a child-safe opening movement, and keep spare or used batteries out of the reach of children - flat batteries can be fatal if swallowed as they can burn through human tissue in the throat and stomach – even ‘used’ batteries can cause damage if swallowed
  • Watch for strangulation hazards – for example, Hampshire Trading Standards has recently identified ‘home-crafted’ decorative dummy straps that fail regulations
  • Magnets can be fatal if swallowed – toy products can feature magnets that fail safety tests for being too strong which, if more than one is swallowed, can cause stomach obstruction or perforation
  • Balloons, and even pieces of broken balloons, can also cause suffocation if swallowed
  • Product recalls information is available to anyone at  Product Recall – Acting on product safety (campaign.gov.uk)

If something goes wrong with a product you have been sold, you can report your concerns to Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133 or online at Contact the consumer helpline - Citizens Advice.

For more information, visit: https://www.hants.gov.uk/business/tradingstandards/consumeradvice/safety/toysafety