Parents warned of the dangers of buying cheap toys online

A new campaign warning families about the rising number of dangerous toys sold online is being launched today (Friday 25th November).

As Black Friday kicks off, the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) is concerned that, for parents feeling the pinch, the appeal of cheap toys could have fatal consequences.

The charity is urging parents to think twice when buying cheap toys from online marketplaces, as they often come from abroad and haven’t been safety tested.

TV medic Dr Punam Krishan, who is a GP in Glasgow and has two young children, is backing the initiative which she describes as “incredibly important and worthwhile.”

CAPT is flagging up the increasing number of unsafe toys sold online, which may be made with toxic chemicals, long cords that can strangle or small parts that can choke a small child.

Experts at the charity say super-strong magnets in cheap toys can rip through a child’s gut while easy-access button batteries can kill a child if swallowed.

And they warn that unsafe, illegal toys that have been removed from sale can simply reappear under another seller on the same online marketplace.

Katrina Phillips, CAPT’s Chief Executive, said:

“With cost-of-living pressures, we’re all looking for cheaper alternatives, but these could come at a very high cost. 

“To put it simply, some of these toys can kill. That’s why we’re launching this campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of buying cheap toys on online marketplaces. 

“Figures show that up to 85% of accidents to under fives happen in our homes. 

“We’re urging families to follow our toy-buying tips this Christmas.”

Dr Punam Krishan added:

“As a parent I know how much we want to see those happy faces when the kids find the toys they really wanted under the tree at Christmas.

“It’s so easy to buy presents online without checking who the seller is or where they’re based.

“Doctors deal with the aftermath of accidents to children and anything we can do to safeguard our children’s lives is worth supporting.”


  • Take care when buying from online marketplaces. They don’t have to check if the toys they sell are safe.
  • If you can, opt for well-known brand names and retailers.
  • Check who is selling the toy. If it’s a company you’ve never heard of, with no UK or EU address and the price is temptingly low, the toy may be illegal and unsafe.
  • High-risk toys best avoided from unknown brands and sellers include those with:

– Super-strong magnets that can rip through your child’s belly
– Easy-access button batteries that can kill your child if swallowed
– Long cords that can strangle your child or small parts that can choke them
– Chargers that can catch fire or wires that can cause electric shocks.

  • If you buy a toy that looks unsafe, trust your instincts and send it back.

Buy safe toys

Don’t get caught out buying dangerous toys. Discover all you need to know about buying toys safely and risky toys to avoid with our toy safety hub.

Email notification

Sign up to our free child safety emails to receive safety alerts, top tips and free downloadable resources.

Related pages

Magnetic balls and sweets

Toys online – nasty or nice?

Don’t get caught out buying dangerous toys when shopping online. We explain how to tell safe sellers from dodgy dealers and highlight risky toys to avoid.

Smaller copycat and real Magformers toy

Toy safety – what are you paying for?

What’s the difference? Here we compare two magnetic building toys, showing how reputable manufacturers invest in toy safety.

Button Batteries

Button batteries

Button batteries, particularly big, powerful lithium coin cell batteries, can badly hurt or kill a small child if they swallow one and it gets stuck in their food pipe. Find out more.

Magnetic balls


Super strong magnets can rip through a child’s gut if they swallow them, causing life-threatening injuries. Find out more.

Share this post