TÜV test: water toys are often life-threatening

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Be careful when buying bath toys

Swimming tires, rubber animals and the like - just in time for the holiday season, there are countless water toys in use again, which are supposed to provide special fun during a beach holiday. But especially when buying children's swimming seats, caution should be exercised according to the TÜV Rheinland - because, as an examination of bathing articles from souvenir shops has shown, these can even be life-threatening. Therefore, it is important to note a few points when buying - then nothing stands in the way of water fun.

Many toys "do not meet the basic safety requirements" Without water toys, beach vacations are only half as nice for most children. But what dangers are hidden here is usually not known - although it can sometimes be life-threatening. On the occasion of the holiday season, TÜV Rheinland has now tested water toys from holiday locations in Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Belgium and the Netherlands - a total of 50 products, including inflatable swimming animals and air mattresses and swimming seats for babies, for which the price was a maximum of ten euros. The frightening result: Based on the European minimum standards, "20 out of 50 bathing articles [.] Are not likely to be sold in the European Union", because "they do not meet the basic safety requirements", according to a current press release from TÜV Rheinland.

"Inflatable swimming seats are life-threatening"
The testers had discovered serious defects and safety risks in many child seats during their examination, for example because there was a risk of slipping out of the seat or capsizing immediately due to an excessive sitting position. In addition, in six cases the TÜV even came across prohibited swimming seats for babies and small children - so TÜV Rheinland expert Christiane Reckter sums up: “These inflatable swimming seats are extremely dangerous. They pretend to parents that they don't offer security at all. That is why such seats are absolutely prohibited. Safe swimming aids or children's swimming seats must not be designed like colorful water toys. "In addition, the seats should have usage and safety instructions and" meet the requirements of the series of standards EN 13138-1 and EN 13138-3 ", which applies to both the product and the product must be clearly stated on the packaging, according to the expert.

Small parts that could be swallowed and unauthorizedly high amounts of different pollutants But that was not enough - because in the case of five other inflatable toys, small parts (valve plugs) that could be swallowed would have been released in the course of the investigation, and there were also unlawfully high amounts of different pollutants in six water toys - for example, the so mentioned phthalate plasticizers, which according to the TÜV are suspected of “having a hormonal effect and being carcinogenic”, and some of the products had too high levels of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are also suspected of causing cancer.

Toys from Greece are particularly negative. Water toys, which were bought in Greece, scored particularly badly in the investigation - four out of ten products turned out to be "not allowed" because, as with the "Baby Safety Ring" from the company INTEX ”from the Netherlands did not meet the minimum standards. Or - as in the case of a "crocodile floating seat" without further manufacturer information - contained small parts that could be swallowed. The testers, on the other hand, had relatively little to complain about about the eight products that had been bought in Germany: Here, the toy "Bee Rider" from a Dutch manufacturer and a swim ring from "Hoffmann Spielwaren" had been criticized because of the "warning on the packaging formally not correct according to current EN 71 ”, according to the evaluation of the TÜV.

Overall, "slightly positive trend" compared to previous years The water toy survey was the fourth of this type, although a "slightly positive trend" can be seen compared to previous years: "In 2009, over 60 percent of the items purchased failed, in 2010, over 35 Percent and in 2012, almost 40 percent of the products did not even meet the European Union's minimum marketability requirements, ”said the TÜV.

Buy water toys only from reliable sources. Nevertheless, the test shows that there are still dangerous items to buy - this is why TÜV Rheinland recommends that you "always buy from safe sources and from large retail chains that have quality assurance." consumers could quickly get an idea of ​​the quality of the toy themselves by paying attention to whether it smells extremely strong and unpleasant, has sharp edges or is made of extremely thin plastic - "then it is better to avoid fingers and save money" , so the tip of the TÜV.

Swimming learning aids must not be designed like colorful water toys. The price should not be neglected either, because "for one-euro products, I would say that cheap is bad," says TÜV expert Christiane Reckter. Nevertheless, the products should not be overly expensive, instead there would be good, good swimming seats, for example, for 10 to 15 euros. In addition, holidaymakers should pay attention to the appearance of the swimming learning aids, because "these must not be designed like colorful water toys and should have at least two air chambers," according to the TÜV. However, if the toys have a so-called "GS mark" (tested safety), they have been checked in advance by a neutral testing company.

The address of the manufacturer or importer should be clearly recognizable. In addition, the thickness of the film also provides information about the quality of the product, because according to Christiane Reckter it means "the thicker the better" - it should also be considered whether the seams are sharp or the valves are poorly made, because then you should rather do without the purchase. With a good product, on the other hand, "the valve plugs should be permanently and firmly attached, and they should also be retractable to prevent unintentional loosening as possible", so the tip of the TÜV. In addition, toys for children up to three years of age should not contain any small parts that could be swallowed, and there would also be the obligation of the manufacturers to put age, warning and operating instructions on the products. Last but not least, the labeling of the packaging is an important criterion for quality according to the TÜV: Accordingly, the manufacturer or importer and their address should be clearly recognizable, which is particularly important in the event of a complaint.

Never leave children unattended But even if the toys are high-quality products, children should never be left unattended while bathing - even if a swimming aid is involved and not even when splashing in shallow water. Because, as the experts from the TÜV urgently warn, "most accidents in the water [.] Are not due to defective or unsuitable aids, but to the parents' lack of supervision." (Nr)

Image: Rike / pixelio.de

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