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Kmart to review toy safety procedures after regulatory probe

Kmart will change the way it age grades its home brand toys in New Zealand after a Commerce Commission investigation found some had failed to comply with relevant product safety standards.

The discount department store’s ‘Kids & Co’ fire engine product was originally assessed as being suitable for children over the age of three, but the investigation concluded that, given the nature of the product, it was very likely children under three would also use the toy and that Kmart should have ensured the toy met safety standards for younger kids as well.

According to the Commission, when the product was tested against relevant standards for children under the age of three it failed, with small parts coming free and being able to be swallowed – posing a choking or suffocation risk.

“Businesses selling toys in New Zealand must ask themselves the right questions when age grading toys,” said Commission chair Anna Rawlings.

“Some toys appeal to children of many ages but toys which appeal to and can be used by children under the age of three must comply with the [relevant] Standard, even if they are also appropriate for children over that age [and] businesses cannot meet or avoid these obligations by marking or labelling toys as not suitable for children under three years.”

Kmart removed the product from sale in New Zealand in early 2019, and will amend and improve the test it applies when conducting age grade assessments for its home-brand products, while providing external training to its toy sourcing staff to ensure they are knowledgeable on what is expected of them moving forward.

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