Officers ordered safety tests on a sample of the products – imported from China via Heathrow Airport – after becoming suspicious because the toys were incorrectly labelled.
The tests found that plastic packaging used to wrap individual toys in the playsets were too flimsy to meet safety regulations designed to prevent children suffocating on it.
Plastic used to wrap toys must in law be a certain thickness to minimise the risk of it clinging to a child’s nose and mouth and stopping their breathing if they were to try to play with the packaging. Plastic bags found in the playsets were in some cases half the required thickness.
The batch was made up of 198 mini play kitchens, dressing tables and projector sets which came in their own travel cases. Individual items such as frying pans and hair dryers were wrapped in light plastic packaging.
Officers with Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards are now liaising with their counterparts in Manchester which has legal authority over the products because the importer is based in the area. The playsets (pictured) had been brought into the country through Heathrow and sent to a storage area in Surrey.
Richard Walsh, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Localities and Community Wellbeing, said: “Not only must toy manufacturers make sure that the products they’re supplying are safe, they must also pay attention to the packaging they use because it may get played with as well. The regulations around toys and packaging are designed to protect children and our vigilant trading standards officers will take steps including carrying out tests on products whenever they have concerns.
“With the Christmas shopping rush hotting up, we would urge anyone who has concerns about a product they’ve seen for sale or have already bought to come forward.”
*Anyone with concerns about the safety of a product should contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.