Buy safe toys

“I would hate for any other child to go through what Becca suffered because of buying dangerous toys via online marketplaces.” Becca’s mother

Toys online – nasty or nice?

With Christmas coming and the cost of living going up, we’re all looking for savings. But there are cheap toys for sale on online marketplaces that could seriously harm your child. Use our guide to help you save money but buy safely.

Here we explain:

  • how to tell a safe seller from a dodgy dealer
  • which toys are most dangerous, especially if you’re buying from an online platform.

Dodgy dealer or safe seller?

We tend to think: if we can buy it, it must be safe.

This is generally true for toys you buy from:

  • high street chains, including their online stores
  • the websites of big-name toy brands.

It gets more complicated when you buy from an online platform. Even if you type in the brand name of the toy you want, you’ll be presented with lots of options, including cheaper copycats.

Remember, when you buy from an online platform:

  • not everything they sell is supplied by them
  • they don’t have to check that toys from other sellers are safe.

So, if it’s not a brand name you know, that awesome toy you bagged at a bargain price could be coming from a dodgy dealer anywhere in the world. And it could be dangerous for your child.

Which toys are most dangerous?

If all of this sounds like a nightmare before Christmas, don’t worry. Here we highlight four dangerous types of toys to watch out for:

Most dangerous toys

  • Toys with accessible button batteries that can burn through your child’s food pipe.
  • Super strong magnets that can rip through your child’s belly.
  • Toys with long cords that can strangle your child.
  • Cheap electrical toys with chargers that can catch fire or wires that can electrocute your child.

Checklist for buying safely online

Who are you buying from?

  • The online store of a high street chain? ✔️
  • The website of a big-name toy brand? ✔️
  • The manufacturer of the branded toy? ✔️
  • A company you’ve never heard of? ❌
  • A company with no UK or EU address ❌

Remember, a toy sold on a well-known online platform may come from another company, not from the platform itself.

Where is the seller based?

  • Here in the UK? ✔️
  • Overseas, where UK safety standards may not apply? ❌

Watch out! A UK PO Box may hide the fact that a company is actually based overseas.

This poster from the Office for Product Safety and Standards encourages you to know your risks when shopping online.

How to report dangerous toys

Spotted a toy you think may be dangerous? Trading Standards make it easy for you to report concerns about dangerous toys, whether in the shops or online.

Simply call:

More information on toy safety

Watch the free recording of our webinar on Dangerous toys and how to avoid buying them.

Related pages

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.

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