British Toymakers: “Stop the Sale of Unsafe Toys Online”

June 21, 2019 | According to a new white paper released by the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA), 58 percent of toys selected for assessment from online marketplaces are non-compliant with UK toy safety regulations and illegal for sale in that country. The BTHA, which represents toymakers across the UK, is calling for action from the government to ensure unsafe toys are removed from the market.

“The BTHA has been testing toys on online marketplaces and finding concerning levels of illegal and unsafe toys,” said Natasha Crookes, director of communications for the BTHA. “We have been sharing the results with the platforms and regulators to call for change. We are concerned that unsafe and illegal products are not removed fast enough and identical products remain on sale. There are gaps in the UK regulations which allow the sellers and the marketplaces to not be held to account and for unsafe toys to continue to be available to UK consumers. We call on government to close that gap before a child is seriously injured or killed by an unsafe toy.”

The BTHA has been actively raising awareness that toys sold by third-party sellers on online marketplaces pose significant safety risks to the British public. BTHA members are “committed to making legally compliant, good quality toys for children to play with (…) Making toys to (the UK’s) demanding standards is a legal requirement every member of the BTHA is committed to undertake but it does come at a considerable expense and there are unscrupulous sellers who are happy to undercut prices by making substandard and illegal toys that are put into the hands of children,” according to the Association.

The BTHA purchased 200 toys from the largest marketplaces and found more than half of those toys were illegal for sale in the UK, and 22 percent had serious safety failures. Only some of the products were removed from sale, and identical products remain on sale today. BTHA is calling for widespread changes to the legal requirements for online platforms and sellers.

“BTHA’s continuing excellent work echo concerns raised by The Toy Association in our white paper, The Real Threat of Fake Toys,” stated Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association. “Not enough is being done to ensure the safety of toys sold through e-commerce marketplaces, and it’s putting children everywhere at risk. We applaud the BTHA for this study and demanding improvement. All rogue sellers of untested, unsafe toys must be held accountable and marketplaces do have a vital role to play, whether a toy is sold in the U.S. or internationally.”

The full report is available online.