John Kobelke

John Kobelke

Minister for Police and Emergency Services; Community Safety; Water Resources; Sport and Recreation

    Electric shock toy warning

    16/12/2005 12:00 AM

    Consumer Protection Minister John Kobelke today warned consumers not to treat ‘electric shock’ games as toys and to keep them away from children.

    Mr Kobelke also warned the ‘games’ were not for the elderly, those who suffered epilepsy or a similar condition or for anyone fitted with a heart pacemaker or similar device.

    However, the games were not a physical danger if used in accordance with the supplier’s instructions.

    The Minister said the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection’s Energy Safety Division had the devices independently tested and found they deliver a very low effective voltage.

    “The results of the testing show the games are not a physical danger to most people other than those groups mentioned,” he said.

    “For most adults, the electric shock experienced does not cause any harmful effects.”

    The electric shock games come in various models and are designed to be used by a number of players. Some test the reaction time of players, while others deliver random shocks.

    Mr Kobelke said a number of other State Governments were also concerned about the games and Energy Safety has advised them of the outcome of the investigation.

    “Consumers should be aware these games are not being marketed as toys,” he said.

    “They are clearly labelled as being unsuitable for children and people with epilepsy and similar conditions.

    “I urge anyone who wants to buy one as a Christmas present to think twice about buying it, because it might be misused and cause damage to a child or someone with a health condition.”

    Apart from the electric shock games, Consumer Protection has compiled a list of presents to avoid giving this Christmas:
    • flammable Christmas wreaths or rings that contain a candle should be avoided, because the items are a fire hazard;
    • yo-yo balls, (liquid-filled rubber balls attached to a long elasticised string), are a strangulation hazard. These items recently were found being sold at some local markets despite being banned in WA;
    • projectile toys, (which usually fire a dart or bullet), with small parts that fit entirely in a 35mm film canister, can present a choking hazard. Some projectile toys can be modified to fire other objects such as a nail or pencil that can cause severe eye injuries;
    • children younger than three years of age should not be given any toy which contains small parts that fit into a 35mm film canister, because small parts present a choking hazard;
    • trampolines without protective pads to cover the side springs are a hazard for children;
    • mini-motorcycles, or ‘pocket racers’ without a compliant braking system, cut-off switch and throttle control, are dangerous and cannot be used on a road or footpath; and
    • flotation toys that do not comply with Australian Standards can be dangerous. If the packaging does not indicate that the product complies with Australian standards, then do not buy it.
    “When buying for children, always inspect the toy closely to make sure it is well designed and well made,” Mr Kobelke said.

    “Be sure to check for choking hazards and sharp edges. Become a label reader and check the age recommendations. Gifts need to be both suitable and safe.”

    The Minister said issuing this warning was part of the Gallop Government’s improved consumer protection focus aimed at giving better quality of services to all Western Australians.

    Minister's office: 9222 9211