Issued By
Cumbria County Council

Trading Standards warn of yo-yo balls hazard

Trading Standards Officers in Cumbria are alerting the public and retailers to the hazards posed by yo-yo ball toys.

The toys, which are made of brightly coloured plastic, consist of a fluid-filled ball on the end of a ‘rubber string’. The toys have various names including Yo-Yo Flasher, Yo-Yo Splat Ball, and Chukkies Yucky Yo-Yo Ball.

Phil Ashcroft, Head of Trading Standards for Cumbria County Council, said: “These items appear innocent and very attractive to children. However we have been advised of two incidents, one in Middlesbrough and one in Bournemouth, where children were nearly strangled by these toys after they became wrapped about their necks.

The string part of it stretches when the children swing it, but once caught round the neck it rapidly shortens and can choke a child. We are asking parents to watch out for these toys and shopkeepers to take them off sale”.

Schools across Cumbria are also being alerted to the potential dangers.

Trading Standards Officers around the country have been taking steps to remove the toys from sale. The toys have been examined by Suzanne Robertson, an occupational therapist and expert on children’s behaviour.

She said that children are likely to use the toy to lasso other children, which would lead to the string of the toy wrapping round the child’s neck. The string would then tighten round the neck leading to a risk of strangulation. The children would be likely to panic and would not think to release the string. She went on to say that, although the toy was labelled with advice that it should only be used under adult supervision that would not happen in reality.

Trading Standards Officers say that parents should take the toys away from children and that retailers should take them off sale and return then to their suppliers.

Notes for Editors

1 The Toys (Safety) Regulations 1995, No 204.

Regulation 4 states – Toys to which these Regulations apply shall satisfy the essential safety requirements.

Schedule 2 – Particular Risks – Toys and their parts and the packaging in which they are contained for retail sale must not present risk of strangulation or suffocation.

2 The incident referred to at Bournemouth has been reported via the National Press.

3 The incident in the Middlesbrough area has been covered by Tyne Tees Television.

4 A safety warning alert has been issued in France by the Ministre de l’Economie, Paris stating that due to the risk of strangulation the toy does not satisfy the essential safety requirements laid down in Directive 88/378/EEC.

5 For further information on this press release, contact Patrick Thomas, Principal Officer, Cumbria Trading Standards on 01539-773591 or Bill Procter, Principal Trading Standards Officer on 01539-773573.