Toy abacus withdrawn from sale

23 December 1998
A Victorian importer has recalled a combination wooden toy abacus and clock face from distributors, retailers and consumers following a request by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The abacus supplied will have a smiling kitten, smiling man or a smiling professor motif beneath a clock face. The clock face has movable hands and is on the left hand side of the abacus frame.

The Victorian company Morientaz Pty Ltd, trading as Sinia Imp & Exp Company, imported the toy abacus.

'The ACCC had the abacus tested to the requirements of the mandatory safety standard for toys for children under the age of three years. The toy failed the test and the ACCC believes the toy imported and distributed by Sinia Imp & Exp Co. is in breach of the standard' ACCC Chairman, Professor Allan Fels said today.

'The importer has agreed to recall the toy abacus from retailers and provide for retailers to refund consumers the full cost of the toy or to provide a replacement toy to the same value as the abacus.'

'A key requirement of the standard is for the toy not to include or produce small parts or components that may constitute a choking or inhalation hazard to small children. During the testing process undertaken on behalf of the ACCC the toy failed the 'drop' test, broke and released the small counting beads which could constitute the choking or inhalation hazard.'

'Upon being advised by the ACCC that the toy had failed the safety standard test, the importer took action to cease further supply and to institute a retailer recall and consumer product safety recall.'

The ACCC has similar concerns in respect to another abacus. This abacus has five horizontal rods, the upper three of which contain abacus counting beads which slide along the rods. The lower two rods contain six multi faceted tumblers with alternate numbers and addition, subtraction and equal signs printed on each side. The frame's right hand upright consists of a stylised smiling cat figure. The supplier of this toy is yet to be identified.

Parents are advised that children under the age of three should not be permitted to play with the toys, as the ACCC considers them unsafe. Parents should also check their children's toys and if they find one of these abacuses, safely retain it prior to returning it to either the point of sale or the importer for a refund or exchange.

'The decision by the importer to recall these toys is a positive step, as it highlights the importance of manufacturers and importers taking responsibility for products they supply to the public. The ACCC affords a high priority to its product safety and information standards responsibilities and to encouraging compliance by manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers and other suppliers.'

For further information about this media release: Professor Allan Fels, Chairman, ACCC (03) 9290 1812 Richard Fitzpatrick, a/g Director, Public Relations, (02) 6243 1108.
Release number: 
MR 240/98
ACCC Infocentre: 

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