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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Playrooms - child safety

< previous | next > 10.03.2017

Playrooms - child safety

Terms and conditions of use which did not provide for the liability of entrepreneurs for the safety of children as well as the presence of hazardous toys and other devices – these are the results of the recent playroom safety audit. The UOKiK, the Trade Inspection Authority and the Ombudsman for Children have jointly prepared recommendations for parents and entrepreneurs on how to ensure the safety of children.

Playrooms are available in shopping and recreation centres. Children are allowed to play there using special devices and toys under the supervision of adults. The services are usually provided for a fee, with the applicable rules being laid down in the terms and conditions of use.

During the first half of last year, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, along with the Trade Inspection Authority and in cooperation with the Ombudsman for Children, has performed a nationwide audit of playroom safety. The UOKiK examined 82 terms and conditions of use applied by 48 entrepreneurs who maintain facilities of this type. At the same time, the Trade Inspection Authority conducted a safety audit of 84 playrooms. The scope of the audit has been extended to include an analysis of specimen contracts following the disturbing reports received by the Chairman of the UOKiK from the Ombudsman for Children.

All of the entrepreneurs covered by the audit applied terms and conditions of use which contained objectionable provisions. In most cases, the irregularities found pertained to the following issues:

  • disclaimer of liability for personal injury (e.g. The personnel accepts no liability whatsoever for any accidents involving children which occur during play – 75% of all entrepreneurs),
  • disclaimer of liability for the property of the playroom users (e.g. The playroom’s management accepts no liability whatsoever for any abandoned or lost items – 67% of all entrepreneurs),
  • transfer of liability for property damage to the consumers (e.g. Parents shall be liable for all damage caused by children – 48% of all entrepreneurs),
  • failure to make the terms and conditions of use available to the consumers for inspection (e.g. Purchase of a ticket shall be tantamount to acceptance of the Terms and Conditions – 40% of all entrepreneurs).

In 27% of all playrooms audited by the Trade Inspection Authority, the toys and devices presented a hazard to the users thereof. Among others, the following issues attracted the attention of the inspectors:

  • the presence of sharp edges and protrusions,
  • unsecured wall sockets and unsecured or loose cables,
  • the presence of holes which presented a risk of trapping the head or fingers,
  • the presence of exits which allowed the children to leave the playroom unattended,
  • the absence of additional information on age groups, permitted height of users or durability of devices.

Most of the entrepreneurs have voluntarily remedied the irregularities found during the audit. Only in one case a decision ordering the irregularities to be remedied without delay had to be issued. Proceedings in two other cases related to the presence of irregularities in the terms and conditions of use are also currently pending.

– As proved in the course of the audit performed, the entrepreneurs were mostly unaware of the presence of hazards which one might consider to be easily noticeable and which stemmed mostly from the absence of the appropriate safety measures or – as has been the case with the terms and conditions of use – from the lack of the necessary knowledge. For the above reason, we have developed a set of special tips and recommendations for parents and entrepreneurs alikeMr Marek Niechcia³, the President of the UOKiK, explains.

– The presence of certificates or declarations of conformity alone does not guarantee the safety of children in the playroom. Having in place an appropriate and well-documented system of playroom equipment control – which must also encompass the performance of maintenance works – is no less important. The most important aspect of all is the humane appreciation of the role of play in the life of the child as well as an empathic care for the safety thereof. Situations where the entrepreneur disclaims liability insofar as ensuring the safety of children is concerned are simply unacceptable – adds Mr Marek Michalak, the Ombudsman for Children.

The UOKiK, the Trade Inspection Authority and the Ombudsman for Children have prepared a joint reminder for parents and entrepreneurs alike on how to keep children safe during play. The tips for parents and recommendations for entrepreneurs are available on the websites of the UOKiK and of the Ombudsman for Children.

Additional information for the media:

Press Office of the UOKiK
pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warsaw
Phone: 695 902 088
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]

Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Press Office of the Ombudsman for Children

Ul. Przemys³owa 30/32, 00-450 Warsaw

Phone: 607 044 77

E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm8ucHJhc293ZUBicnBkLmdvdnAucGw=[ECODE]

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