Toy safety campaign launched in time for Christmas

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Commissioner for Consumer Protection Meglena Kuneva has launched a new toy safety campaign in her native Bulgaria ahead of the festive period.

The November initiative, entitled the ‘Safety Holidays’ campaign, is addressed at both children and parents in the country, and aims to draw consumers’ attention to the quality and safety of the products they buy and use, especially those aimed at children. 

“This campaign aims to focus the attention of society on this problem and inform it about the ways and solutions to avoid danger,” Commissioner Kuneva said. 

If it proves successful, she aims to expand her educational campaign throughout Europe, and enlist the aid of consumer organisations in the respective countries in promoting it. 

Toy safety is of particular concern in the EU following the September recall of millions of Chinese-made products – including the iconic Barbie doll – by US giant Mattel, after they were discovered to contain ‘impermissible’ amounts of lead and choking hazards. 

The Mattel incident led the Commission to launch a review of its toy safety checks, currently in its final stages (EURACTIV 06/09/07). It is set to propose a directive on toy safety before Christmas, after Parliament called on the EU executive to improve the ‘CE’ marking system in a resolution earlier this year (EURACTIV 26/09/07). 

Promoting her campaign, which runs under the slogan “Be careful what kind of presents you buy for your children”, Kuneva said: “It is utterly important each consumer be informed about the danger […] hidden in some of the goods that haven’t been produced under the required conditions and […] do not comply with the particular requirements of the EU.” 

The commissioner has also suggested that a symbolic ‘holiday pact’ be made between business and parents, whereby toy companies would agree to deal in safe goods, and consumers would inform themselves of the risks involved. 

The ‘Safety Holidays’ campaign will use leaflets and TV and radio advertisements to provide guidance on how to choose a child’s Christmas present, explain which goods are dangerous and outline measures to be taken to protect children. 

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