Dolls imported through Heathrow Airport had decorations on their hats and tunics which were found to tear off easily and fit exactly inside a choke test cylinder the size of a child’s throat.
Officers with Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards sent a sample for safety testing after labels on the products raised suspicions. The labels stated that the dolls shouldn’t be given to under-threes but in law, all soft toys are automatically considered to be intended for small children.
Ninety-six elf toys had been imported from India and sent to a holding point in Surrey. After receiving the test results, trading standards officers alerted their counterparts in Gloucestershire where the internet retailer has offices to get them taken off sale. The toys had no link to official Elf on the Shelf products.
Denise Turner-Stewart, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “With the ‘elf on the shelf’ tradition becoming increasingly popular, this doll could have been in particular demand but our officers picked up safety problems which could have led to children choking.
“It’s not unusual for Christmas toys to be passed off as novelties or decorations because they haven’t been made childproof and we would urge shoppers expecting young children in the house over the festive season to be on the lookout for products likely to be picked up and played with despite labels saying they’re unsuitable for under-threes.”