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Rogue online sellers are abusing parents’ trust and putting children at risk

Putting children at risk

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive, Child Accident Prevention Trust: “Rogue online sellers are abusing parents’ trust and putting children at risk. They’re not just selling cheap products that may break more easily. Dangerous products include those with easy-access button batteries that can burn through a child’s food pipe, super-strong magnets that can rip through a child’s gut, overlong cords that can strangle and small parts that can choke a baby. Check who you are buying from and where they are based. Is it a reputable company or brand? Remember, not everything advertised on well-known online platforms is sold by that platform. You may actually be buying from a company you’ve never heard of, that’s based overseas and that’s ignoring UK safety laws. And, before you buy something for your child, do check if it’s dangerous and has been removed from sale.”

Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) survey reveals parents at risk of buying unsafe, recalled toys and nursery goods

  • More than half of parents (54%) mistakenly believe that sellers on online platforms are checking the safety of their products.
  • 74% of parents also wrongly believe that any product aimed at children under 5 has to be fully tested and certified safe by an independent body before it can be sold online, according to new research from the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT).
  • With mounting financial pressures, parents are increasingly searching online for better prices than in the shops (71%) and inadvertently buying dangerous products from unknown sellers.
  • Only 13% always check out who the seller is or where they are based. Most rely on customer reviews (87%) or comments on the seller (77%) and trust that safety information online is true (84%).

In reality, if an online seller is based overseas, and sells through an online platform, they can evade their safety responsibilities – even for toys or nursery products.

Recalled toys still being sold

But last year 91 types of toy were recalled because they were dangerous. And a report from the British Toy and Hobby Association found that 90% of a sample of toys from third-party sellers on online marketplaces were unsafe for a child to play with. What’s more, of 101 dangerous toys withdrawn from sale, 65 seemingly identical toys were still on sale a year later.

Despite these findings, 70% of parents never check to see if the product has been recalled and 93% don’t know how to check. That’s why the charity has set up a new advice hub, where parents can check if the toys, nursery goods or child care products they are buying are safe.

Parents told the charity: “I don’t think there’s much to worry about with most toys. So long as play is supervised, what can happen?” and “I have never thought to look for recalled items.”

Three tips for swerving rogue online sellers

1. Who are you buying from?

  • The online store of a high street chain?
  • The website of a big-name brand?
  • A company you’ve never heard of?

2. Where is the seller based?

  • Here in the UK?
  • Elsewhere in Europe?
  • Overseas, where UK safety standards can’t be enforced?

3. Has the product been recalled?

  • Check our toy recalls list for the latest children’s products that are so dangerous they’ve been withdrawn from sale.
  • Or visit GOV.UK to see if problems have been spotted with something you’re thinking of buying.


Check out the Child Accident Trust Savvy Shopper page for more information.

Dodgy Dealer or a Safe seller?

Check before you buy – Toy Recalls

Buying Safe toys – what you need to know

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