The summer holiday season is one of the most joyous times of the year. For most of us, it is filled with laughter, cheer, friends and family, and some of the best memories of our lives are formed during the holiday period. However, the fun could be stopped short when an unsafe gift is accidentally given to a loved one, especially if the recipient is a small child. Therefore, it is recommended that you ensure all of your Christmas and holiday gifts are safe before you shop while you are shopping and again after you have completed your purchase. It never hurts to put safety first and to ensure that all regulated items, such as kids beanbags, comply with government safety standards.
Before Going Shopping
The best way to protect yourself, your children and everyone on your gift list is to make sure your presents are safe before you purchase them. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by doing just a little research beforehand. If you know the specific products you are considering to buy for your loved ones, you can check several sources to see whether they may pose any hazard.
The most reliable way to check for products that have already been determined to be unsafe is to consult the list of recalls produced and maintained by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The ACCC is a government agency responsible for overseeing the nation’s product safety system. At any given time, around 15,000 types of products are available for purchase in the country, and this total does not include products of the same type manufactured by different companies.
Measures are taken at several levels in this system, including the voluntary actions of private companies and corporations, federal and state laws, regulations and restrictions and information made available to the public. Although several agencies are dedicated to certain types of products, such as agricultural, electrical, chemical, food and drugs, the ACCC is responsible for ensuring the safety of general consumer products. These are the products that are typically found in and around private residences.
Product Safety Rules
The ACCC enforces four types of product safety rules to protect the public from hazardous items:
1. Voluntary Standards – These standards are not required by law but are accepted by manufacturers and suppliers in various industries and niches. Voluntary standards help keep their customers safe but also act as a way to save money by avoiding costly recalls.
2. Mandatory Standards – Mandatory standards and bans are laws or regulations that companies must adhere to when manufacturing, distributing and selling products in Australia. These standards are developed when evidence exists of certain products posing a risk of illness, serious injury or death. If steps can be taken to minimize or eliminate these risks, then mandatory standards are written into the regulations, and companies must abide by these standards or face severe penalties, including fines and liability for damages. Kids beanbags are in this category. When standards are met, they are perfectly safe, and upstanding suppliers understand this.
3. Recalls – When products are defective or otherwise unsafe, a recall may be made. In some cases, companies may issue voluntary recalls to avoid liability. However, the ACCC has the authority to issue compulsory recalls when companies or industries do not wish to comply with voluntary recalls.
4. Liability – Specific provisions are written into law that spell out who is responsible and to what extent they are responsible for damages caused by unsafe products.
While You Are Shopping
Even if you have done your due diligence before leaving home, many other steps can be taken while you are shopping to make sure the products you purchase are safe. When you see something that looks like it would make a good present for the holidays, inspect the item and its packaging. Warning labels and safety information, if mandated, should be prominently displayed through a variety of means, including large lettering, capital letters, encapsulated boxes or bright colors. Always read this information carefully because it may pertain to the recipient of your gift.
In addition to warning labels, it is important to read the other product information. For instance, many items are not appropriate for young children. Most products meant for children in Australia are age graded for safety and development reasons. If you are buying gifts for children three years of age or younger, pay particular attention to products that may pose choking hazards. Although these items should include warning labels, it doesn’t hurt to check them yourself. They should have no small parts that may easily be pulled or broken off, and complete items should not be so small that they can fit into a 32 mm film canister. You may also use the Choke Check tool provided free by the ACCC.
Finally, you will want to make sure that you are not about to inadvertently buy one of the products on the ACCC’s interim or permanent ban lists. Among the 22 items on the permanent ban list are baby dummies with unsafe decorations, candles with lead wicks, children’s items made of plastic containing DEHP, high-powered magnets, novelty cigarettes and yo-yo water balls.
Safety Inspections After Purchasing
The final line of defense against unsafe products is to check them one last time before they are given as gifts. It is possible that you missed something on the inspections you made before shopping and while shopping. Also, new products are added to the recall lists all the time, so it is worth taking a look at all the new entries since you last checked.
You can be assured that all of the kids beanbags and beanbag furniture sold here is of the highest quality and meets all safety standards. We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.