As we get closer to Christmas, the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) is urging Christmas shoppers to look for the CE Mark, particularly on toys or electrical goods. Under Irish law, all toys and electrical products must display the mark, which indicates that the item meets all relevant safety, health and environmental protection standards in the EU.
The Authority noted that 326 fires in Ireland claimed the lives of 366 people between 2005 and 2014 – electrical appliances were suspected in 28 fatal fires. So far this year, 11 toys and 10 electrical products have been recalled from the Irish market over safety concerns. These include a halogen oven from Aldi, a Russell Hobbs travelling kettle and Apple’s Beats Pill XL Speaker.
“From Christmas fairy lights to tablets or mobile phones; electrical products make up the majority of our Christmas shopping lists and therefore it’s vital you ensure what you are buying is safe and complies with safety standards,” said Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI. “By law, all toys and electrical products for sale in Ireland must display the CE safety mark. The CE mark is the manufacturer’s declaration that the product complies with safety standards and it must be visible on the product itself or on its packaging. If it doesn’t have the CE mark, don’t buy it.”
To ensure you’re buying a quality product, rather than an inferior example which could be from the black market, the NSAI has provided a handy top ten safety tips for Irish consumers:
1. Look for the CE mark – this should visible on either the product or the packaging.
2. Examine the product and look for safety issues such as rough edges or detachable small parts. Christmas lights should be carefully checked – if there are any frayed or damaged wires, loose connections or broken/damaged sockets then it’s safer to simply replace them.
3. Watch out for fire – reduce the risk of a blaze by keeping all decorations and other flammable items away from light fittings and heat sources.
4. Always switch off your lights before you go to bed or leave the house, and unplug your appliances too.
5. Keep an eye on the electrics. Toys with electrical components should be used carefully – always read the instructions. Don’t mix old and new batteries (even if you forgot to do the pre-Christmas Day battery run), unwind long extension cables and don’t overload sockets or extension cords.
6. Inspect your alarms – conduct regular tests of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they’re in good working order.
7. Always go by the age warnings on items – some toys may have parts that could present a choke hazard to smaller children, while video games may have content unsuitable for those under a certain age.
8. If you’re buying items like bicycles, skateboards or roller blades, don’t forget the safety gear (with the CE mark).
9. If you come across a toy or electrical product that could be unsafe, contact The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CPCC).
10. Always dispose of electrical goods and toys properly. Many houses across the country will be swimming in cardboard and plastic on Christmas Day (which could present a choking or suffocation hazard) – recycle if and as soon as possible!