Every year, the Consumer Council receives about 400 complaints in the category of baby and infant products, mostly due to defects or to various deceptions. This is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg, because the problems are many and varied while quite a few consumers are not aware of them and choose products that are unsuitable for their children and for their age and are even hazardous. International studies show that the vast majority of baby products contain chemicals and metals that are likely to cause irritation - at best -, while in the worst case they are simply dangerous to use.
At the Negev Conference for Child Welfare, the CEO of the Consumer Council said: "Many times, products and games for children that are imported to Israel or manufactured here, are not classified as toys, but as jewelry or sporting goods, a fact which exempts them from going through regulatory testing. This is how they reach children and infant mouths, despite the fact that they are sometimes hazardous or contain metals and chemicals. For example, "goal-shooting" arrows, which are defined as sports products rather than toys, endanger the health of many children, some of whom have already been irreversibly injured by the game. Classification of the product in the right category is critical to protecting the child, his health and well-being".
The responsibility for the safety of games and products falls on the manufacturer and not on the consumer, since many times the consumer has neither the information nor the professional knowledge to analyze and know the products and their components.
photo by Lior Weitz
Thus, for example, the Spinner, the game that is captivating the Israeli youth, has turned out to be a dangerous game, and there are already quite a few cases in which children have been harmed while playing with it. The Spinner was brought to Israel as a tool that helps ADHD and not as a game, and therefore avoided being "under the radar" and did not have to pass all the tests required for toys in Israel.
The US Consumer Protection Agency has recently issued a statement recommending parents not to buy the Fidget Spinner to their children, due to reports of children swallowing parts of the popular toy. At the same time, the Israeli Standards Institute announced that it is evaluating whether or not the Spinner is conform to the Israeli standards.
Josh Goldschmidt, Director General of the Consumer Council: "In the current situation, the health of babies and children in Israel often remains unprotected and lacking optimal maintenance. In this matter, Israeli children in Israel are a weakened population that is taken advantage of by some manufacturers and marketers. The classification of the product in the right category is critical for the protection of the child, his health and well-being. Manufacturers and marketers also place a strong emphasis on aggressive marketing and attractive advertising that cost a fortune - and directly aim the children".
The CEO of the Consumer Council also spoke of our responsibility as consumers, emphasizing the children parents. Goldschmidt: "As long as consumer awareness does not increase in these matters, the materials will continue to hide and many manufacturers and importers are "counting" on this. Where there is not enough awareness, we are likely to be affected".
When the price is low, it also reflects the quality and safety of the products for the children. This is the time to say and to remind parents that price is not everything! Do not be tempted to buy cheap toys that are falling apart, that are sharp and not marked only because the price winks at you. Sometimes it is just unhealthy and even dangerous!"
The CEO of the Consumer Council concluded: "I do hope that also in the field of young consumer protection, standards will improve in the wake of the reform that is taking shape in the Standards Institute, as well as enforcement, transparency and accessibility to higher quality and safer products, and that the consumers awareness and responsibility will increase in this significant and basic field".