• NSAI is advising Christmas shoppers to always check for the CE Mark, especially when buying toys and electrical products this festive season
  • By law, all toys and electrical products sold in Ireland must display the CE Mark, indicating the item meets the high safety, health and environmental protection requirements of the European Union
  • 11 children’s toys and 10 electrical products have been recalled from the Irish market so far this year, over safety concerns

NSAI is advising Christmas shoppers to always check for the CE Mark when buying electrical products or toys this festive season.  

Between 2005 and 2014, there have been 326 fatal fires in Ireland, claiming the lives of 366 people. In the 158 instances where the cause of the fire was known, electrical appliances were suspected in 28 fatal fires (8% of cases) while a further 3 per cent of fatal fires were attributed to electric blankets. In 2011 alone, 241 fires in Ireland were caused by electrical equipment. 

“From Christmas fairy lights, to tablets or mobile phones; electrical products make up the majority of our Christmas shopping lists and therefore it’s vital you ensure what you are buying is safe and complies with safety standards” said CEO of the NSAI, Maurice Buckley.

“By law, all toys and electrical products for sale in Ireland must display the CE safety mark. The CE mark is the manufacturer’s declaration that the product complies with safety standards and it must be visible on the product itself or on its packaging. If it doesn’t have the CE mark, don’t buy it,” Mr. Buckley added.

Under Irish and European law, toys must also display the CE mark, demonstrating that the product has undergone safety testing in the design and manufacture process and that it complies with the Irish and European standards.  The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has recalled 11 children’s toys and ten electrical products have been removed from the Irish market so far this year over safety concerns.

“Most of the products and services we encounter every day are governed by standards. But unfortunately, due to counterfeiting or the misuse of the CE Mark, there is never a 100% guarantee that a product bearing the mark is safe,” said CEO of NSAI, Maurice Buckley.

“That’s why NSAI is advising consumers to familiarise yourself with the CE Mark and always buy products from trustworthy shops and online outlets,” Mr. Buckley added. 

The black market is now costing the Irish economy €1.4bn a year, with one-third of black market activity occurring over the peak Christmas shopping period. The Revenue Commissioners recently confirmed the seizure of counterfeit Disney goods, including 'Frozen' DVDs and toys, as well as fake Apple iPhones, Samsung Galaxy handsets and hundreds of fake GHD hair straighteners.
 

CE-E, the singing robot, introduces children to the idea of toy safety.
  To learn more go to: www.ec.europa.eu/enterprise/toys-tips

NSAI’s Ten Safety Tips for Last Minute Christmas Shoppers

  1. Look for the CE mark | Only buy toys and electrical products that contain the CE Mark. The CE mark should be visible on the product itself or on its packaging.
  2. Check the product | When buying a toy, take time to examine it first for rough edges, dangerous or detachable small parts or small holes that could trap little fingers. Check Christmas lights carefully for signs of damage such as frayed or exposed wires, broken or cracked sockets, or loose connections. If your Christmas lights look worn, it is much safer to replace them altogether rather than repairing them.
  3. Keep Away from Fire |  Reduce the chances of causing a fire and keep decorations and combustible materials well away from light fittings and other sources of heat such as heaters, fireplaces and candles.
  4. Switch Off | Switch out all Christmas lights last thing at night and when leaving the house to protect against the risk of fire. For extra safety, always switch off and unplug appliances and other items when not in use.
  5. Mind the electrics | Always take care when buying toys with electrical parts or a transformer. Read the safety instructions. The device should be properly insulated and protected to prevent a risk of contact with live wires. Don’t mix old and new or different strength batteries in the toy. That can make the old or weaker batteries very hot. Always unwind extension cords completely to avoid overheating and don’t overload sockets with adaptors or extension blocks.
  6. Check Alarms | Test your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms to ensure they are working.
  7. Age Appropriate | Pay attention to minimum age warnings, for example, "Not suitable for children under three years old" and other warnings. When buying a computer game, check the age cert in case it portrays violence or contains material of an adult nature.
  8. Get the right gear | If Santa delivers bikes, roller skates, skateboards or other wheeled items this year, make sure those riding them have the right protective gear. A CE Mark is also required for personal protective equipment, such as helmets, knee pads etc. Never buy protective equipment without a CE Mark.
  9. Take action | If you come across a toy or an electrical that seems unsafe or doesn’t have a CE Mark, don’t buy it. Instead, contact The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CPCC).
  10. Recycle and be safe! | Always dispose of (in your recycling if possible) discarded wrapping paper, plastic bags, ribbons, string, plastic tags, used batteries etc. as soon as they’re not needed any more. Make sure younger children don’t play with anything that could cause suffocation.

Product Recalls

Further information on product recalls is available on The Competition and Consumer Commission website: