Paediatrician applalled by lack of product safety testing
The onus for meeting product safety laws rests with suppliers, but now one doctor is calling for new laws following a string of products failures and serious injuries.
It's the thought that counts, but it might be hard to fake a smile if you receive one of these hazardous holiday gifts. Household appliances, clothes and toys make up some of the dangerous presents you don't want to find in your stocking this Christmas.
Australia's consumer advocacy group Choice has recalled 12 potentially lethal household products following a year that has seen a 12 per cent increase in similar recalls, which it says outstrips the US.
"Whether it's your favourite smartphone, slow cooker, drone or your kids' pyjamas, hundreds of popular products have been recalled that present a danger to you and your family," said Tom Godfrey, Choice's Head of Media.
But recalls only result in about half the products being returned. Mr Godfrey said people shopping online are most at risk, and should check their own homes for recalled products.
"Companies have no legal obligation in this country to ensure the products you buy are not harmful or unsafe. Worryingly, if a product causes death, injury or illness this information is not available to consumers," said Mr. Godfrey.
"It's time for this vital safety information to be made public to alert consumers to the risks they face. We would like to see Australian Consumer Law changed to make it clear that suppliers of products have a legal obligation to make sure that the products they sell are safe."
With Christmas around the corner, consumers are being urged to shop cautiously, exercise their rights, and check their homes for the following faulty goods:
1. Ozsale's Orange Superhero Pyjamas
The Orange Superhero Pyjamas sold by Ozsale, which the ACCC found particularly concerning. Photo: Ozsale
Because of their length and fabric, Ozsale's Orange Superhero Pyjamas pose a risk to children.The material is extremely flammable, and when you combine the nightwear's long hood with children who love to run around, the risk of accidentally brushing against a heat source is very real. The pyjamas do not display any fire-hazard warning labels. According to the Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC), Ozsale made more than 1000 of the garments available and were penalised $500,000 for supplying children's nightwear which did not comply with safety standards, and "was so unsafe that it should not have been supplied in Australia at all".
2. Swarovski Octa Crystal Pendant Light
Swarovski Pendant Light Photo: Swarovski
Diamonds might be a girl's best friend, but you won't want these hanging from your beloveds ceiling. If knocked around and damaged during shipment, the light fixture inside this Swarovski Crystal Pendant can become detached. And if the loose crystal falls, the result could be devastating. Consumers should prevent people from walking underneath the light fixtures until they have scheduled a free inspection by Swarovski.
3. Flashing Duck with LED Light
Priceline recalled LED-light flashing ducks.
The flashing duck, a toy which was sold in Priceline, contains an LED light and button battery which can become dislodged and potentially ingested by a curious child. According to Tom Godfrey, "button batteries are really dangerous and many children have to hospitalised each week". If found, the toy should be return to your closest Priceline or Priceline Pharmacy store for a full refund.
4. Kogan's 3DR Solo Smart Drone Quadcopter
Electrical parts of the Kogan drone were not tested.
Smart drone, not so smart. This might be a good one to keep in mind for dads who enjoy buying toys they can also play with. Parts of this drone were never tested, let alone approved by the Austrian electrical certification and the appropriate safety warnings are no where to be found.
5. Inflatable frog
The inflatable frog's plugs can become dislodged.
While Mesco's & RPC Promo's inflatable frogs were promoted through agricultural shows around Australia, the frog's inflation plugs can be easily removed and therefore pose a choking hazard for small children.
6. Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones
The Note 7 was recalled because it battery could overheat. Photo: Tham Hua
The explosive phone was originally recalled after a battery issue led to several reported cases of overheating and combustion. Samsung has recalled more than 50,000 Galaxy Note7 smartphones in Australia alone, and urge anyone still in possession of the affected smartphone to stop using it immediately and seek a full refund or replacement.
7. Metagenics' NasoClear
NasoClear contained traces of golden staph.
Metagenics' NasoClear could be found in any household medicine cabinet, but beware. The medicine product combines a saline solution scented with essential oils, and batch number 80789 contained traces of Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as Golden staph. Golden staph can cause life-threatening infections, such as pneumonia, meningitis or blood-stream infections.
8. Breville's Fast Slow Cooker
The Breville Fast Slow Cooker could cause scalding.
Breville has found itself in hot water, having to recall the popular Fast Slow Cooker due to increasing reports of burns and scalding as a result of spilling and spitting hot liquid. People who have the Fast Slow Cooker should contact Breville customer service to arrange for a replacement gasket kit.
9. Zoggs Bobin Swim Jacket & Zoggs Swim Jacket
Zoggs swim jackets did not come with supervision warnings.
These Zoggs jackets fail to display warning labels on the surface, which means users and supervisors of children using the swim jackets may not be aware of crucial safety information while using the products. Consumers can return affected swim jackets through free postage and receive receive a replacement product.
10. Spotlight's Rustic Cabin Birch Candle
Flammable candle holders aren't such a great idea, as it turns out. Photo: Product Safety Australia
Spotlight's Bouclair Home - Rustic Cabin Birch Candle has wood surrounding the candleholder - which could catch fire and remain alight longer than permitted by the ban on combustible candle holders. This could result in burns, serious injury or death if the candle catches fire and could cause irreparable damage to homes.
11. Kmart - Spiral Vegetable Cutter
The vegetable cutter's blade can snap.
Kmart's spiral vegetable cutter has a manufacturing issue that may cause the blade to snap or break during use and could result in deep cuts. This is especially worrying for children. Because the blade pieces are so small, they could be mixed in with food and ingested by accident, wreaking havoc to your insides.
12. Adairs kids' bean bag covers and Adairs adult bean bag covers
Adairs bean bag covers were missing supervision warnings.
The label which should alert consumers that bean bags are not safe sleeping surfaces for children under 12 months is not present on Adair kid and adult bean bag covers, which contravenes the mandatory standard for all bean bags.