11 December 2014

Northamptonshire County Council’s Trading Standards team has seized several sets of fairy lights from an internet seller after tests proved that they failed to meet safety standards.

Trading Standards officers found that a number of the lights had been returned to the seller after having caught fire or melted in the buyers’ homes.

A toy train set has also been recovered by the council’s Trading Standards team from a stall at Kettering market which has wheels and carriages that can be easily detached and pose a choking hazard to young children.

Citizens Advice Consumer Service

Advice for shoppers

Trading Standards staff are now asking Christmas shoppers to be cautious when buying toys and decorations.

Cllr André González de Savage, county council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, economic growth and public protection, said: “While we don’t want to spoil anyone’s festive cheer, these incidents demonstrate that shoppers should take care when buying Christmas toys and decorations to make sure that they are safe and fit for purpose.

“It can be easy at this time of year to be tempted by cheap offers, but you need to be sure if you’re buying children’s toys that they comply with safety regulations and that Christmas decorations do not pose a fire hazard.”

What to look for

Northamptonshire Trading Standards has the following safety advice:

  • Make sure toys are labelled with a CE mark and the name and address of the manufacturer or importer.
  • With toys, look for small parts that could come off and pose a choking risk to children.
  • Fairy lights should also carry a CE mark and should include clear instructions for use.
  • Check fairy lights before use for shoddy or poor construction that may result in a risk of fire.
  • Many Christmas decorations and novelty items can appear to be toys and will appeal to children, but they may not be suitable for young children to play with.

Consumers can report items that do not conform to safety standards to Trading Standards by calling Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.