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‘Tis the season to be cautious amid recall fears in smart toys

Our team of product recall experts is constantly monitoring reports on Europe’s rapid alert system to see which brands and retailers will bear the brunt of the inevitable counterfeit or faulty toy recall this Christmas season.

After all, this is the time of year when people get desperate and put pressure on retailers to get that one toy that almost every child simply cannot survive without. While the thought of disappointing a child isn’t pleasant, rest assured that delivering a faulty or counterfeit toy would be a whole lot worse.

Smart toys have hit the headlines recently amid fears that children are at risk of being contacted by strangers. Consumer watchdog Which? issued a warning only a few days ago after it found security issues with popular children’s toys including karaoke machines and walkie talkies.

After testing several of the most popular devices on sale this Christmas, Which? found vulnerabilities in software which sparked widespread panic among parents.

Toy brands involved were quick to offer assurances to consumers that safety was their top priority and that all the appropriate tests had been carried out to ensure the products were fit for purpose.

Which? is calling on retailers to remove the affected smart toys from shelves and is imploring the government to make it mandatory for manufacturers to ensure products meet appropriate security standards before they go on sale.

The issue around data breaches that threaten an individual’s privacy is one that is not going to go away anytime soon. In April this year, our team penned an article on this very issue. Retailers had then stopped carrying children’s products that had been reportedly been hacked, causing damage to brands.

Manufacturers must continue to work in collaboration with regulators and even their competition to share knowledge. This will result in a best practice approach to combat security risks and ultimately protect consumers and brands from the fallout.

At the time of writing this article, it is unclear as to whether the retailers involved in this recent smart toy issue have acted upon the report. We won’t know the full scale of the recall until January 2020 when all of the data comes through the appropriate channels.

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