Donegal parents warned over dangerous children's toys sold online

Irish MEP calls for stricter regulations to be put in place

Donegal parents warned over dangerous children's toys sold online

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An Irish MEP has raised the issue of unsafe toys for sale online at the European Commission after it was discovered that a record number of dangerous products were flagged by a European alert system. 

Ireland South MEP, Deirdre Clune raised the issue recently and revealed a record number of dangerous products were flagged by the European Commission’s Rapid Alert System, in 2019.

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This is a system that helps prevent or restrict the sale of dangerous items. Toys were the most notified product category, making up just under a third of all reports. 23% of alerts concerned motor vehicles and 8% concerned electrical equipment.  

In addition to this, a recent study from a group of consumer organisations tested 250 electrical goods, toys, cosmetics and other products bought from online marketplaces.

They selected the products based on possible risks and found that 66% of them fail EU safety laws with possible consequences such as electric shock, fire or suffocation. 

In relation to toys that do not meet EU safety measures, there is concern currently at the lack of regulation when it comes to buying online. 

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has raised the matter of dangerous toys being purchased online and not adhering to regulations at the European Commission and has asked what can the Commission to in the context of the upcoming Digital Services Act to address this matter.

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MEP Clune asked, “Does the Commission intend to place additional requirements on platforms to prevent this and what type of measures might the Commission envisage in this regard?”

“At present, online platforms must remove the dangerous items once they become aware of them but further consumer studies have shown that the same dangerous items can reappear a number of months or years later," she added.

“In relation to the products we buy and sell within the European Union, they must be safe. There are existing product safety rules that need to be looked at and adapted where necessary to take account of the digital transformation.

"This might be in specific areas such as machinery or toys or a more general product safety laws. Consumers must be able to count on a high level of safety for all products and know that the authorities are effectively monitoring this.”

In 2021, a new regulation on products will come into force. This will ensure monitoring across borders in the EU, for products that fall under EU harmonisation legislation. However, not all products come under this legislation. So, for example, a doll’s bed, as a toy, is covered by stricter rules than a child’s bed, which, as an item of furniture, is a so-called non-harmonised product as it is a piece of furniture. In the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee there is a proposal that the rules should also cover non-harmonised products.

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