Emily Sunderland and her company Nibbling Jewellery Ltd were sentenced at York Crown Court yesterday (27 August), for selling unsafe babies’ toys.
She had pleaded guilty to offences under the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011 and the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 at an earlier hearing on 5 July.
The case was brought by North Yorkshire County Council Trading Standards Service, which began its investigation after receiving a complaint from a North Yorkshire-based retailer of baby products who also runs a safety group to help other manufacturers and retailers. An officer made test purchases of three products – a ninja dummy clip, a wooden rattle ring and a pram mobile – and submitted them to a test house for safety testing. The analyst who tested the items found that all three were unsafe.
The ninja dummy clip posed an asphyxiation hazard, a strangulation hazard and a choking hazard to young children. Geometric shapes on both the rattle ring (pictured) and the pram mobile presented what is known as an impaction hazard should a child who is too young to sit up unaided fall or roll onto them. Products did not bear the correct information on their labels.
The court heard that Ms Sunderland did not have test certificates for the products as she should have done before beginning to sell them. In her mitigation, she told the court that only five dummy clips had been sold. Sentencing Ms Sunderland to a community order with 250 hours of unpaid work, and fining London-based Nibbling Jewellery Ltd £1,000 with a costs order of £4,485, His Honour Judge Sean Morris told her that “it only takes one to kill a child”.
County Councillor Andrew Lee, Executive member for Trading Standards, said: “Our trading standards officers are happy to work with businesses to help them ensure that their products are compliant with regulations. However, where there is no willingness to ensure that products are safe we reluctantly have to take more formal action. Babies cannot protect themselves if items they are using are unsafe and I am pleased that the sentence passed by the court recognises that fact.”
North Yorkshire businesses who need advice or consumers who would like to report a problem to trading standards should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.