Customs would prosecute or serve written warnings to suppliers of unsafe battery-operated toy lanterns and light sticks to protect consumers' interest, a spokesman for the Customs and Excise Department said today (September 9).
He also reminded parents and guardians to be extra cautious when selecting festive toys, such as battery-operated toy lanterns and light sticks, for children.
Potential hazards of battery-operated toy lanterns include injuries to body, like burn caused by battery overheating or leakage; choking on swallowing batteries or small loose parts; and laceration or puncture caused by exposed sharp edges or pointed projections.
Continuous bending on light sticks may cause leakage of chemical contents. Hence, risks of injury are likely to be associated with irritation on skin or eyes.
The Customs spokesman said that from January 2001 to July 2002, the Department had received three complaints on suspected unsafe light sticks. In the same period, the Department conducted 44 spot checks on various retailers supplying battery-operated toy lanterns and light sticks.
Six models of battery-operated toy lanterns and five models of light sticks were sent to the Government Laboratory for safety tests for compliance with the prescribed toys standards under the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance as well as the requirements of bilingual safety warning and identification marking for toys under the Toys and Children's Products Safety Regulation.
Of the 11 tested samples, three samples of toy lanterns were found to be meeting all the safety requirements while three samples of toy lanterns were found failing to carry the required instructions on safe battery usage, such as "Do not mix old and new batteries" and "Do not mix alkaline, standard (carbon-zinc), or rechargeable (nickel-cadmium) batteries".
The five samples of light sticks were found without the required identification markings on the packaging, that is, the name and address of the local manufacturer, importer or supplier.
As a result, Customs initiated investigations against 26 suppliers concerned. So far, the Department had served on seven local companies written warnings under the Ordinance and Regulation.
To guard against potential risks, parents and guardians are advised to take note of the following recommendations:
* Look for warning labels on these festive toys and pay special attention to the advice;
* Follow instructions on usage;
* Not to let children aged under three play with battery-operated toy lanterns and light sticks alone without close supervision;
* Not to bend the light sticks after activation;
* If a user accidentally contacts with the chemical inside, he should rinse with copious amount of water and seek medical advice; and
* Dispose of the light stick immediately once it ceases lighting.
Reprinted from HKSAR Government web page :