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Christmas is coming and already the television is full of advertisements, trying to tempt children, to persuade their parents to buy the wonderful toys that are on sale. Parents on the other hand should keep some fundamental points in mind when they go to buy these toys.  There are regulations to protect children from harm and if you buy from a reputable establishment you are more likely to find that the requisites for guaranteeing the safety conditions are adhered to.  Toys which are commercialised within the European community should have the CE symbol on them; this is to ensure that the toys have passed the technical or laboratory tests relevant to the toy.  They also guarantee that the instruction leaflets for using the toy properly, these leaflets have to be at least in the language of the country where the toy is being commercialised.

The safety regulations for toys in Spain are within the Royal Decree 880/1990 from the 29th June; this has been modified by the Royal Decree of 204/1995 from 10th February.  These regulations cover all products defined as toys and they prohibit the commercialisation of those toys which do not comply with the essential safety requirements.  It is for the toy manufacturers and the distributors to ensure that the regulations are being adhered to for each toy, and they have to display on the packaging that the toys have passed the safety tests, however if there is a risk of any kind then that has to be displayed on the packaging.

For example if the toy is only suitable for children over a certain age, or where it is not suitable for babies, when the toy should be played with under adult supervision or where certain protection should be used.  The regulations state that toys are those products which are destined for children between the ages of 0 to 14 years of age, however sometimes we may think that we are buying a toy when we are not.  The following are examples of products which are NOT considered as toys: Puzzles of more than 500 pieces, children’s fashion jewellery, Christmas novelties, video games connected to a power supply of more than 24 volts, and any games/toys which are specifically for adult use.

Many accidents that occur in the home regarding toys are due to babies playing with toys intended for older children or when toys are left lying around and people trip over them.  Choking is a serious hazard for young children and toys that have easily removable parts should be avoided.

Therefore when buying toys the main points to look for are that the packaging contains the name of the manufacturer, the trade name and the European community symbol, they should also have the technical characteristics of the toy and its functions along with the safety indicators which are usually in a text form, in symbols or pictures.    You should also make sure that the toys are suitable for the particular child that you are buying for, as there can be significant differences in the abilities of children of the same age group.  When buying a toy you should make sure that you keep the receipt in case it needs to be returned.  If there is a guarantee with the toy, it should be completed and stamped by the distributor or the shop where it is bought.   The guarantee will normally allow the product to be changed, the return of your money or the cost of its repair.  If your child has an accident due to the malfunction of the toy, you can complain and seek compensation for damages.  In these cases we recommend that you keep all the medical reports and the receipt for the toy to be able to proceed with the legal process for the claim.

The rapid assessment by a reputable lawyer is fundamental to be able to proceed with the filing of the appropriate action.