Warning issued over teddy bear choking risk


A warning has been issued after teddy bears donated to sick children were found to pose a potential choking hazard.

Baby product manufacturer Phil & Teds has been issued with a warning by the Commerce Commission after it was discovered that the bears failed to meet safety standards.

Around 5000 'phil&teddy' bears were donated to young children post-operation in Wellington, Waikato and Christchurch Hospitals between 2010 and early 2015.

But a complaint to the Children's Ward at Wellington Hospital prompted an investigation by the Commerce Commission.

Ten teddy bears were sent for testing and all of them posed a potential choking hazard.  Either the seams came apart, exposing the stuffing, or the fur came off.

Commerce Commission Head of Investigations, Ritchie Hutton, says businesses must be aware of safety standards.

"Our role in enforcing the toy safety standard is to ensure toys that appeal to children under three years old do not pose a choking risk. This is because most babies and toddlers do not have a developed coughing reflex," says Mr Hutton.

The bears had been tested to comply with the European toy standard, but not to New Zealand's.

No bears were supplied to children after the complaint was laid in February last year and Phil & Teds carried out a public recall, telling parents to throw out the bears.