'A real concern' - Dangerous toys put under spotlight by NZ Commerce Commission

The Commerce Commission is putting out a warning on the safety of toys sold in New Zealand, after retailer 123 Mart landed a $337,000 fine for dangerous toys.

While the retail chain has since gone into liquidation, the Commerce Commission says it's not the only offender.

Commerce Commission's Anna Rawlings says toys can pose a lot of dangers parents may not be aware of.

"We've undertaken more than 200 product inspections across 130 stores throughout the country and we do have a number of active investigations that we expect will resort in further enforcement activity," Ms Rawlings says.

Toys are put through a rigorous testing process, with investigators checking the products for small parts and performing torque and drop tests.

The commission says putting a label on an unsafe toy is not enough to get around the regulations.

Sue Chetwin is the chief executive of Consumer New Zealand who says dangerous toys are flooding the market, and they do not always come from low-cost stores.

"I think parents probably think when they're out shopping that the fact that these things are on the shop shelves, that they have been vetted and they are safe so it's okay for them to buy them," she says.

The Commerce Commission says it's difficult for consumers to judge for themselves how safe a toy is, so the market must make sure they comply.

"A number of retailers that we've visited have been unaware of their legal obligations and have no compliance process in place, and that's a real concern to us," Ms Rawlings says.

Consumers have been advised to shop at stores with good safety standards and to check toys for small parts which could break off or become a choking hazard.

The Commerce Commission says there are dangerous toys on the market which often pose a choking hazard. Source: 1 NEWS