Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Look for the right standard


With thousands of kids across the country on summer holidays, the National Standards Authority of Ireland has urged parents in particular to buy summer products with the appropriate standards, to ensure they’re safe and fit for purpose.

“As people are making plans for this summer to attend parties, festivals and events it is important to be aware of the standards of the products you are buying for yourself and your family, to ensure a safe and enjoyable summer,” said Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI. “Be sure, for example, that the sunglasses you are wearing actually protect against UV rays. If you’re buying a trampoline for the kids, be sure that it meets the appropriate safety standard. These apparently small things can make a profound difference to your health and safety and your summer.”

The NSAI has also revealed its top five summer safety tips:

1 – Search for the UVA standard on your sunscreen

In 2012, a new ISO standard, ISO 24443, was established to help laboratories and the cosmetics industry to measure the UVA performance of sunscreen products and ensure people are better protected against the harmful rays of the sun. When first created, sunscreens were only designed to filter out UVB (Ultra Violet B) rays, as the dangers represented by UVA (Ultra Violet A) rays were then unknown. Today, sun protection products must span the entire UV spectrum. When buying sun cream, make sure you look out for the UVA symbol (see picture above). A four or five UVA star rating is best for fair skin.

2 – Protect your vision

When looking at the latest, most fashionable sunglasses consumers should choose options that meet the I.S. EN 1836 standard. This ensures that eyewear purchased offers protection against solar radiation or UV rays. Eyewear that does not offer protection from solar radiation or UV rays can damage your eyes.

3 – Check arm bands and swimming costumes for standards

Make sure children’s swimming costumes and armbands meet the relevant standards and display the CE mark. The I.S. EN 13138 standard for buoyancy aids ensures that rigorous safety test methods have been put into use and that aids are safe to be worn by your child.

4 – Check the CE mark on trampolines and bouncing castles

When buying a trampoline, make sure it comes with a safety net and a protective pad around the springs and that it also displays the CE marking (this ensures it meets the I.S. EN 13219 standard). Bouncing castles should meet the I.S. EN 14960 which tests and ensures that materials, design and structural integrity of the inflatable unit is fully safe and reliable for use. Ensure that the inflatable is securely anchored with a minimum of six anchorage points.

5 – Look for CE marks on tents

If you are one of the thousands of music lovers getting ready to go to one or more of this year’s summer festivals, look out for the CE marking and standards on tents and camping equipment before you purchase. I.S. EN 15619 and IS EN 13782 are both tent safety standards that will ensure the design, structure and fabric used in your tent is reliable, secure and flame retardant to avoid a dangerous situation.

The NSAI also advises you to buy from trustworthy shops and online outlets, read all warnings and instructions, and to always report a safety problem to the manufacturer or retailer, as well as the appropriate public authority, the market surveillance regulator and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

“You expect, for example, that the seat belt you put on when you get in the car will keep you safe because it is made to a standard. The brakes will work because they are made to a standard. The toys your children play with – made to standards. Most of the products we encounter in any day, the services we use, will all be governed by standards,” said Maurice Buckley. “But what many people don’t realise is that standards for many items are voluntary. Therefore, I would encourage people to pay particular attention to the products they buy, look out for standards logos and symbols and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

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When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.