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Nearly half of toys bought online from third party sellers are ‘unsafe’, report finds

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Nearly half of the toys purchased from third-party sellers via online marketplaces were unsafe for children to play with, a new study has found.

The report commissioned by the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) found many of the potential gifts could choke, strangle, burn, poison and electrocute children.

Out of the 255 toys that were randomly selected, inspected and tested, 88% were illegal and 48% were unsafe for a child to play with.

X-rays revealed the magnets were so strong they linked together inside her body and ruptured three parts of her intestine (Pic: RoSPA)
Image: X-rays revealed the magnets were so strong they linked together inside her body and ruptured three parts of her intestine (Pic: RoSPA)

And now, following the report which tested items bought via Amazon, eBay, AliExpress and Wish, the BTHA is calling for changes to the law so that children can play without risk of injury or death

Sam McCarthy, the mother of two-year old Rebecca, who almost died after swallowing magnets she thought were sweets, is heading the campaign.

X-rays revealed the magnets were so strong that they had linked together inside her body and ruptured three parts of her intestine.

“I would hate for any other child to go through what Becca suffered because of buying dangerous toys via online marketplaces,” Mrs McCarthy said.

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“The government needs to take urgent action before any other child is critically injured or even dies.”

Natasha Crookes, Director of Public Affairs for the BTHA, said: “It is not acceptable that unsafe and non -compliant toys are simply allowed to enter the UK market, putting children at risk of serious harm.

“We believe the government has to step in to legislate this wild-west of safety and we must see politicians from all sides of the House coming together to protect children as part of the UK review of the product safety framework in 2021.”

Rebecca pictured just days before her ordeal
Image: Rebecca pictured just days before her ordeal

Currently, there is no legal requirement for online marketplaces to check the safety of the products that other sellers are listing on their site.

Many of these sellers are based overseas, outside the jurisdiction of UK enforcement leading to calls from the BTHA for stricter product safety laws.

A spokesperson for AliExpress said: “We are investigating the items identified by The British Toy and Hobby Association Report and we will take appropriate action in accordance with our platform rules, including where applicable removal of products and penalising sellers found to be violating our platform rules and regulations.”

A statement from Amazon said: “Safety is important to Amazon and we are investigating the products in question as a matter of urgency.

“We require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws and regulations and we have proactive measures in place to prevent suspicious or non-compliant products from being listed.”

Sky News has also contacted eBay and Wish for their response to the report.