CHOICE is warning parents about the potential dangers of ‘mermaid tails’ this Christmas.
Looking for ways to keep your little one entertained? See what mums are saying about Playskool Play, Stow and Go Toys.
The Mermaid Tail may look all sweet and innocent, but please be aware of the risks before rushing out to buy your child one this Christmas.
The aquatic toy binds a child’s legs together and act as a ‘flipper’ so that the child can swim like a mermaid. Even if your child is a strong swimmer, there is a real danger that they may get into difficulty underwater when wearing one of these toys.
CHOICE’s warning follows advice from NSW Fair Trading and Consumer Protection WA who have both expressed concerns about “mermaid tails”.
The product — which comes in two types, mono fin and the full mermaid suit — typically comes with an age recommendation of six and up, but Consumer Protection has warned the toy could be an unsafe Christmas gift in the hands of young or incapable swimmers.
Acting commissioner David Hillyard urged parents to think through their gifts this festival season, and look past popular fads when ticking off their shopping list.
“Our worry is that in the excitement of Christmas, a child who may be too young or incapable of using a mermaid tail might end up trying one,” he said.
“Tragically children under five account for the largest number of swimming pool drowning deaths in Australia — 14 children from that age group lost their lives through swimming pool drowning in 2013/14.
“It means that we adults need to constantly supervise young children in, and around, water.”
The safety warning was not serious enough to prompt a recall.
Choice Australia and NSW Fair Trading have also issued warnings against the mermaid tails, just days before Christmas.
Consumer Protection WA retail and services acting manager Paul Maher said there were no reported cases of mermaid tail drownings in Australia, but education and adult supervision were key to avoiding any tragedies.
He said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) would assess the mermaid tails for compliance after the warning was issued.
“Children should be at least six, be a good swimmer, have adult supervision and perhaps they will need a lesson first on how to use the tail,” Mr Maher said.
“Lots of kids want this product this year for Christmas, we want parents to know the risks.
“It’s a time of year where parents should be extra vigilant… and educate their whole family.”
“Parents should be conscious of what they are giving their older children because their younger children might want to get their hands on whatever it is to.”
CHOICE is warning parents with young kids about the potential dangers of “mermaid tails” https://t.co/OtSgXhmCBg
— CHOICE (@choiceaustralia) December 18, 2015
Always remember, Safety first!
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