This Christmas nearly 50% of Irish consumers are planning to save money and time by shopping for gifts online and are also considering saving money by purchasing second hand products. With thousands of products and toys entering the Irish consumer market every year, the NSAI are advising consumers to be vigilant of all goods purchased, particularly those purchased online, and to ensure that these products display the CE mark and other relevant consumer safety markings.
Speaking on consumer safety, Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) said, “Christmas is an exciting time, but it is important to be aware of safety standards when buying products, especially toys for children. Irish consumers need to be confident in what they are buying and who they are buying from, especially at this particularly testing time in our economy. We hope that by providing the following consumer safety tips,Christmas will be a fun and safe holiday for everyone”.
- Look for the CE mark: All toys for sale in Ireland must have the CE safety mark. The CE mark shows that the product complies with the essential safety requirements of the European Toy Safety Directive. Toys with a CE mark indicate that they are safe to use as they were intended to be. A technical standard mark can also be placed on the toy along with the CE mark. This indicates that the toy complies with all safety regulations, for example, that it is made from a non-toxic material. The European standard for toys is called EN 71.
- Beware of 2nd hand toys: According to a recent report, one out of five Irish consumers are considering buying second-hand products this Christmas to save money. NSAI advise consumers to ensure that these products, although cheaper or second hand, display the CE mark and meet the required consumer standards.
- Safety gear: Every Christmas Santa is inundated with requests for wheeled items, such as three wheel scooters, bikes, roller blades and skateboards. With the dangerous weather forecast again this Christmas, it is important that parents ensure their children have the right protective gear to wear when using their new gifts. The CE Mark is also required for personal protective equipment, such as helmets, knee pads, etc. Never buy protective equipment without a CE Mark. The World Health Organisation estimates that the head trauma injury can be reduced by an incredible 69% when a helmet is worn during a collision.
- Electrical Toys: Electrical toys should also carry the CE mark. No electrical toy should be sold that exceeds 24 volts. All parts of the toy should be properly insulated to prevent a risk of contact with live wires. Special care should be taken with battery-operated toys as battery leakage can result in burns and other injuries.
- Christmas lights: At Christmas, home owners often decorate their homes with outdoor Christmas decorations and lights. However, these outdoor lights burn much hotter than indoor lights and can often overheat. NSAI advises Irish consumers to use lights and electrical goods that are CE certified.
- Buyer beware! A recent report shows that 41% of Irish Consumers will make more purchases online this year than in 2009. NSAI advises consumers to be vigilant and to ensure that all products purchased have the appropriate markings and standards, especially when buying toys. In addition, check for any missing parts, loose screws or faulty wiring, before giving them as presents.
- Check Smoke detectors: With open fires burning, Christmas lights and candles galore, NSAI are advising home owners to ensure that smoke detectors have new batteries and that their smoke display either the I.S. 409 standard or the British standard BS 5446 on the inside or outside of the smoke detectors body.
Buckley added, “Standards are constantly being revised and changed as market conditions and safety factors require and with toy safety this is especially the case. Two new ISO toy safety standards have just recently been introduced, adding to the already comprehensive list of toy safety standards already in existence. These new standards show how standards bodies such as NSAI in Ireland and others around the globe, in conjunction with toy manufacturers and industry, focus on toy safety as a priority.”
For further information Contact NSAI