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29 March 2016

Phil & Teds given safety warning

Teddy bears didn't comply with safety standard.

Phil & Teds Most Excellent Buggy Company has been issued with a warning by the Commerce Commission over the teddy bears it gave children recovering from surgery.

About 5000 of the teddy bears were given to kids in Wellington, Waikato and Christchurch hospitals between 2010 and 2015. However, the bears didn't comply with the product safety standard for children's toys.

The commission tested 10 of the bears after a complaint was made to the children's ward at Wellington Hospital. All 10 posed a choking hazard as the seam came apart, exposing stuffing, or the fur came off. In June last year, parents were told to throw out the bears.

Commerce Commission head of investigations Ritchie Hutton said businesses have a duty to ensure the toys they supply meet New Zealand safety requirements.

“Our role in enforcing the toy safety standard is to ensure toys that appeal to children under three years old do not pose a choking risk. This is because most babies and toddlers do not have a developed coughing reflex,” Mr Hutton said.

The bears had been tested to comply with the European toy standard, but not the New Zealand one.

“In all cases it’s the traders’ responsibility to ensure the products they sell or give away comply at a minimum with the New Zealand safety standard prescribed in the Regulations. It’s not good enough to rely on information provided by manufacturers without taking steps to ensure it’s accurate. The other, is that traders must not rely on old testing. If you re-order a product over time you need to ensure that future orders of the product also comply with the safety standards."

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