Consumers buying children’s bubble blowers are advised by Trading Standards to only buy products displaying the CE mark - proof that the product has passed EU safety regulations.

Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service analysed 21 samples from a range of retailers and importers from across the region - and every product passed product safety tests and complied with strict labelling requirements.

The safety tests and warning follows the discovery of potentially harmful bacteria in bubble products from across Europe on 37 occasions between 2013 and 2017.

Each of these failed samples prompted a Europe-wide safety alert.

Some unregulated bubble products contain harmful bacteria such as e coli and listeria - symptoms of e coli include diarrhoea, stomach cramps and in a small number of cases haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Children under five are vulnerable to HUS which can cause kidney failure and can be fatal.

Listeria mesophilic causes a rare infection called listeriosis. Severe listeriosis can cause serious infections like meningitis in babies.

Consumers should always ensure the CE mark is displayed on the toy or packaging before purchase and are advised to only buy from reputable sources.

All toys, including ‘free’ toys that come with magazines or food purchases must display the CE mark.

The mark shows that the toy meets legal requirements. Bubble toys can be a common ‘free’ toy included with some magazines and a popular inclusion in children’s party bags.

‘Homemade’ toys available online or from market stalls must also conform to the same safety regulations.

Even if a product is marked ‘this is not a toy’ it may still have to satisfy safety tests if it is ‘child appealing.’

Be wary of bargains, as some popular branded toys are counterfeited. While they might look the same, they are unlikely to have undergone the same rigorous safety tests a genuine toy will have been subjected to.

Take extra care when buying second hand toys that no longer have the packaging or instructions.

Trading Standards carries out regular checks and testing on consumer goods such as toys, this helps to make sure safe products are sold and promotes business growth by supporting them with advice.

Trading Standards Manager, Rachael Haldon, said::

“No harmful bacteria were found in any of the products we tested but that doesn’t mean that every single bubble product from every outlet is bacteria free.

“While children’s bubbles appear harmless, testing within the EU has shown that some products contain harmful bacteria such as e coli and listeria.

“We advise that you only purchase products displaying the CE mark and only buy them from reputable traders.”

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