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Brussels has not banned balloons – but existing rules that could save kids’ lives remain

October 11th, 2011

Children to be banned from blowing up balloons, under EU safety rules (Daily Telegraph, 9th October 2011)

Brussels bans toys: Party blowers and other stocking fillers are barred in EU safety edict (Daily Mail, 10th October 2011)

Now Euro killjoys ban children’s party toys (Daily Express, 10th October 2011)


Several newspapers have claimed that “Brussels” has imposed new rules on the UK banning children from blowing up balloons or using party whistles. This is wholly untrue.

EU legislation on toy safety aims to protect young children from death and injury and reflects expert medical advice – and simple common sense.

Balloons and other toys placed in the mouth can and do cause death and injury.

The EU rules referred to date from 1988. They state that ballons made of latex must carry a warning to parents that children under eight years should be supervised. Stronger plastic ballons do not need to carry this warning.

They also state that all toys aimed at children under three should be large enough to prevent them being swallowed.

The Child Accident Prevention Trust says that each year, in the UK, over 15,000 children under five and a further 10,000 children aged between 5 and 14 are treated at accident and emergency units after choking. Only half these incidents involve food.

US research by the Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that ” Of all children’s products, balloons are the leading cause of suffocation death”. So similar rules exist in the US.

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2 Responses to “Brussels has not banned balloons – but existing rules that could save kids’ lives remain”

  1. pperrin says:

    The daily mail article you cite mention specific toys that will be banned by new legislation, and doesn’t mention balloons being banned at all.
    So it seems you are either trying to refute a claim that was never made, or you are refuting something that is actually true.
    How much are you paid to write these responses?

  2. uk.admin says:

    Although we did not “cite” the Daily Mail directly, this piece was written in response to many misleading stories regarding EU legislation on toy safety that had made their way into UK media (print and broadcast) in the week of October 10th.
    The headlines quoted at the top of the piece were provided as samples of the type of sensationalist story we were addressing. Our explanation makes clear what the reality of the situation is. For further information on EU toy safety please visit:

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Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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