The Queensland Government’s Office of Fair Trading is making sure showbag safety is up to scratch ahead of this year's Ekka.
As part of its annual proactive safety campaign, Fair Trading inspectors have combed through more than 200 showbags to ensure their contents are safe to use and comply with Australia’s relevant mandatory product safety requirements.
Showbag suppliers and Ekka vendors have been commended for working with Fair Trading on these compliance checks, enhancing cooperation built over previous Ekka seasons.
This year, OFT inspectors found significant compliance with applicable mandatory standards for showbag products.
Only 35 products were identified by inspectors as requiring attention, with 33 being rectified by suppliers, and only two products, which used button batteries without child resistant closures, being removed from showbags.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said she was pleased with the overall safety of the products inspected.
“The Ekka is such an exciting time for our children, and it is essential to ensure that it’s not only a fun experience, but also a safe experience,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“It is very positive to see that our safety messages are being heard, with inspections this year identifying a relatively low number of products needing to be remedied.”
During inspections, a small selection of cosmetic products was sighted without correct labelling of the ingredients, and some sunglasses and fashion spectacles were identified with incorrect labelling.
Under the Australian Consumer Law, it is unlawful to supply products, including toys, which do not meet mandatory safety and information standards, or are banned.
Cosmetic products must list ingredients on the container, or on the product itself if not packed in a container and should be available to consumers at point of sale.
Sunglasses need to be labelled correctly so parents and carers know the level of UV protection they provide, and how they should be used.
The mandatory standard for sunglassesand fashion spectacleswas last updated in October 2017 and included a transition period to assist with the changeover to the new mandatory standard.
The transitional period ended on 30 June this year, and Fair Trading is working with suppliers to ensure that all products now meet the standard. Products that do not comply must be quickly rectified or removed from circulation. Inspectors will continue to conduct checks throughout the Ekka.
Inspectors also identified a number of products containing replaceable button batteries that either did not have child resistant closures or did not contain warnings alerting consumers to the dangers of young children ingesting button batteries.
“Button batteries found in many small toys and novelties can be fatal if swallowed, and the battery compartment must be child resistant and secure,” Mrs D’Ath said.
While inspectors have checked that showbag toys and novelties are child‑safe, parents and carers should still think carefully about which toys and novelties they buy for children.
Parents and carers are reminded that even if a product meets safety standards, it may not be age appropriate, especially for children under three.
“It may be difficult to talk a young child out of a particular showbag that is top of their wish list, but parents and carers can go through showbags and remove items on the quiet if they know what to look out for,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“We need consumers to be on the lookout for potential safety hazards such as button batteries, small parts that can become detached from products which can present serious choking and ingestion issues, and items with sharp points and edges.”
Parents and carers are urged to take the Five S approach when checking through their children’s purchases:
- Size – the smaller the child, the bigger the toy should be (anything smaller than a ping pong ball is too small for a child under three)
- Shape – be wary of products that may be easily swallowed or have sharp edges or points
- Surface – make sure all finishes are non-toxic (this should be stated on packaging)
- Strings – anything over 30cm is a choking or strangulation hazard for a small child and should be removed
- Supervision – nothing replaces close adult supervision.
Toys, novelties, and products containing button batteries suspected of being unsafe can be reported to the OFT at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath