Business Services and Consumers Minister Gail Gago today issued a safety warning related to a gumball machine that dispenses colourful balls used by children as erasers.
The State’s consumer watchdog has raised concerns over the gumball eraser machine, and other erasers resembling food products being sold in South Australian stores and online.
“SA’s Consumer and Business Services (CBS) is investigating the safety of the product after a complaint in Victoria about its potential danger to young children,” Ms Gago said.
“While the product and the packaging is marked with warning labels advising they are non- edible and not recommended for children under the age of three, it still poses serious risks.
“These days, companies are becoming increasingly creative with their products.
“Erasers can come in a variety of shapes that look or smell like food, such as confectionary, lollipops, ice cream cones and even donuts – making them attractive to younger children who could easily mistake them for the real thing.
“This product in particular contains lightweight colourful balls with a fruity smell to them, that would fail the small parts choking hazard test for children under three.
“The eraser balls may be difficult for a child to bite into, but there are safety concerns they are small enough to be swallowed and could easily become an ingestion or choking hazard.”
Ms Gago said it is important parents and caregivers keep an eye on these and similar sweet- smelling products that imitate food and ensure they keep them out of reach of young children.
“Small children would not be able to tell the difference between bubble gum and erasers, and it would be devastating if we had to wait for an injury or death to occur before something was done,” she said.
Ms Gago said she has written to the ACCC asking them to review the product.
CBS are investigating these products and working closely with other regulators, including Consumer Affairs Victoria, to consider whether a review of relevant standards is needed.
For more information product safety visit the CBS website.