First Mart fined over unsafe toy pigs

Importer pleads guilty to supplying unsafe children’s toys.

Pig toy from First Mart.

Importing and supplying unsafe toys has landed 1st Mart Limited (First Mart) with a $45,000 fine.

The company pleaded guilty to one representative charge under the Fair Trading Act of importing more than 800 toy car and pig figures, which resembled the “Peppa Pig” brand of products, and suppling 540 units to retailers.

Tests of the toys found small parts separated – including the pig, its ears, the car’s wheels and axles – presenting a choking hazard for small children.

In sentencing in Manukau District Court, Judge Denys Barry stated the company’s small size precluded it doing in-house testing “but that inability must heighten the need for vigilance in assessing product safety especially for products targeted at, or attractive to, small children”.

Commission Chair Anna Rawlings said these cases were a priority because they were about the safety of small children.

“Toy suppliers need to understand and meet their legal obligations when supplying toys for children 36 months and under. If they don’t, they put those children at risk of serious harm,” she said.

First Mart started a recall when it learnt of the commission’s concerns and has contacted retailers that had been supplied the toy. Sixty-one units had been recalled.

What are the safety standards for toys?

Children’s toys have a product safety standard they must meet to ensure they’re safe and robust for kids up to three years old.

The standard says toys must not:

  • be of a size that creates a hazard if swallowed or inhaled
  • have small parts designed to be removed from the toy that will create a hazard if swallowed or inhaled
  • have pieces that can break off during normal use or when children play with the toy in a destructive manner that will create a hazard if swallowed or inhaled.

Tests to assess compliance with the standard are designed to simulate normal playing with a toy that:

  • fits with the toy's instructions for use
  • has been established for that type of toy by tradition or custom
  • is evident from the toy's appearance.

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