Dangerous household items | Stuff.co.nz


Teddy bears and plastic toys are among recently recalled products.

A balding teddy bear, over-heating lamp shade and a child’s shoe lined with a cancer-causing chemical were among the dangerous products pulled from New Zealand shop shelves since June.

Although a teddy bear with shedding fur may sound innocent enough, the risk of choking was one of the leading reasons for children’s toys to be recalled, according to product recall data.

Appliances, toys and power chargers were the three most common household products to be the subject of government safety alerts over the past three years.

However, a consumer watchdog says more investigations are needed to locate dangerous or dodgy goods missed by public recalls. 

* Lead detected in children’s toys
​* Less than half of product recalls work: Consumer
​* Rattle toy recalled for choking hazard
* Inside a product recall

Consumer researcher Jessica Wilson said not all retailers were meeting their obligations to pull risky products from the shelves.

 “If you are selling something you have to make sure it is safe. We would really like to see more proactive investigations by regulators.”

The product safety system relies on a regime of self-regulation, with consumers and industry representatives alerting authorities to malfunctioning products.

However, Consumer research found some products fell through the cracks.

This included an independent audit which found products for sale that tested positive for lead paint.

Lead is a toxic metal and can cause permanent damage to physical and mental health. 

Government agencies Trading Standards and Energy Safety may issue public recall notices online.

Trading Standards issued 240 product recalls in the past three years and received 166 complaints concerning safety in the past three years.

Information was not available on specific injuries relating to complaints.

Appliances and tools made up the largest number of recalls with 92 recorded – just over a third of total faulty products.

Toys and sporting goods made up a quarter of product recalls items, while children’s nurseries accounted for 9 per cent.

Energy Safety also received 318 notifications of accident and product complaints in the same period.

This led to 74 product supplier audits, of which 34 resulted in compliance action including two infringement notices.

When it comes to product recalls, less than half of faulty products were brought back, Wilson said.

Recalls need to be more than a one-off notice to ensure consumers are made aware of safety concerns, she said.

When a retailer or supplier receives a safety complaint they may initiate a product recall and work with government officials. 

Choking hazards, loose batteries and unsafe magnets were among the main causes of toy recalls in the past three years.

This included an LED fidget spinner, a teddy bear shedding fur and a magnetic puzzle.

Lamps, battery chargers, cooking appliances and heaters were among the most recalled electrical items. Risk of fire and electrical shock were often cited as the cause for concern.

A SafeKids report found product banning or modification was more effective in reducing risk than relying on parent supervision.


1. Appliances, tools and machinery

2. Toys, leisure and sporting goods

3. Adaptor, power supply or charger

4. Lighting

5. Nursery products

6. Cooking appliances.

*Most common recalls in the past three years. Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment / Energy Safety

– Stuff

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