Checking Safety on Used and Older Toys
Buying used toys or accepting donations of second hand toys passed down from family and friends can seem like a good idea at the time, but if you are going to give used toys to your child, you need to be extra vigilant and stay aware of the toy safety issues.
The Law and Second Hand ToysThe Toy Safety Regulations apply to all manufacturers, importers, retailers, and other suppliers of new and second-hand toys – in fact the law applies to absolutely anyone supplying toys in the course of a business.
This means that as long as you buy a second hand toy from a reputable toy seller, you can expect it to be safe, although if it's very old it may not have been through the same toy safety checks as a newer toy.
Unfortunately, any toys sold at a car boot sale, jumble sale, or donated to you don’t have to comply with this safety legislation because the toys aren’t being supplied to you as part of a business. That means that most second hand toys, unless bought from a specific retailer or hired from a business, are not automatically going to be safe.
Second hand toys don’t have to be CE Marked, so you won’t always know whether they have passed the essential safety requirements demanded by EU law.
Toy Safety Checks & Issues Around Second Hand ToysWhen you’re offered a second hand toy, ask how old the toy is. Don’t ever buy a used toy from someone at a car boot or jumble sale who might not know the age or origin of the toy, because it may be too old to be regulated by toy safety legislation which was introduced in the 1990s to protect children from dangerous toys.
If there is a CE Mark on the toy, it is probably new enough to have been subject to the stringent Toy Safety Regulations but you still need to be wary.
Check the toy over carefully for signs of wear and tear. Has the toy been obviously well used and patched up in any way. Are there pieces missing or coming loose? Are there small parts working loose, is the fur or hair coming away and are all seams properly fastened?
Age Appropriate Second Hand ToysIf you’re buying or accepting a second hand toy, even if it’s in reasonably good condition on first inspection, you still need to be aware of the age the toy is intended for. If there is no label, don’t immediately assume that it’s safe for a young child.
Some toys are not suitable for under threes, and if the label has been disposed of, you won’t always know for use if the used toy is suitable. If there are small parts, it’s best to give the toy a miss. In fact, when looking for toys for under threes, it’s probably best to give all second hand toys a miss unless you know for sure they are age appropriate.
Toy Safety Checks – Looking After Second Hand and Used ToysIt’s extra important that you check all used toys before you give them to your child to play with, and then keep an eye on them periodically to check for breakage and potential hazards.
If you notice a toy looking the worse for wear, rescue it and either repair it or throw it out before it can do any damage. Look out for battery leakage in any battery operated toys, and check over all outdoor toys on a regular basis for rust, loose joints or other weak areas.