WHILE cheap toys may seem attractive this Christmas, Queensland parents have been warned to choose wisely with more than 50 products banned from shelves for safety reasons.

Many have been banned because they come with small parts or could break easily into choking hazards for children aged under three.

Fair Trading officers have inspected more than 2100 product lines across 424 retailers and five importers during Operation Safe Christmas 2012 and pulled 66 suspicious items from shelves.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said 56 had been banned after testing and the rest of the 66 would probably be judged unsafe too.

He said Christmas was one of the busiest times of year for the retail market but it was also unfortunately a time when children could suffer at the hands of unsafe toys manufactured in countries with less stringent safety standards.

"More toys are sold in the three months before Christmas than the rest of the year combined," Mr Bleijie said.

"Unfortunately this tempts non-specialist traders that don't understand safety standards to increase profits by stocking cheap toys during the festive season.

"We're proactively giving the message to parents that they've really got to watch what they buy at Christmas time.

"As a father of three children, I understand the pressure Christmas can put on the family budget and the temptation to buy cheaper alternatives to some of the more expensive toys.

"I urge all parents to take care toy shopping and if in doubt to stick to specialty retailers that generally have comprehensive programs to ensure their products meet safety standards."

Mr Bleijie urged parents to return any banned items.

Parents can conduct their own safety checks on toys against the Five S's of Toy Safety:

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 hazard for a small child and should be removed.

Supervision:  nothing replaces close supervision.

For a full list and photos of this year's unsafe toys visit www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

Importers and traders looking for information on toy safety standards and bans should visit www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au or www.productsafety.gov.au.


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