1684061708 Buy banned products Childs play

Buy banned products? Child’s play

Wheeled walkers, corded blinds, recalled toys: Many products banned from sale in Canada and considered dangerous to babies and children are still readily available in the country. These unwanted products – sold on online marketplaces like Amazon – easily slip through the cracks of the authorities, La Presse found.

Posted at 5:00 am.


Charles Eric Blais Poulin

Charles-Éric Blais-Poulin Investigative Team, La Presse

Lots of perpetrators

At least ten models of new walking aids can be bought on Amazon’s Canadian platform and delivered to Quebec in three or four clicks. However, importing and selling these portable speakers on wheels has been banned in Canada for almost 20 years.

For the purposes of this research, we ordered a walker from Amazon.ca, which sold for about $200. About two weeks later, in February, we received it without any problems. The square and narrow box gave no indication of the nature of the product.

Buy banned products Childs play


For the purposes of this research, we ordered a walker from Amazon.ca, which sold for about $200.

According to the organization Safe Kids Canada (now Parachute), before their ban in the country in 2004, hikers — sometimes called “youpalas” or trotters — were linked to about 1,000 injuries a year, mostly head injuries.

“The use of a walker poses several risks of injury to children, including falling down stairs, which can result in injury or death,” Health Canada continues to warn of possible recalls.

Despite their ban, trolleys are responsible for many emergency room visits in Canada each year, although their numbers are declining.

According to data compiled for La Presse, from January 1, 2004 to January 12, 2023, the Canadian Hospital Injury Prevention Research and Information System database recorded 202 walking-related injuries in children ages 3 to 21 months. Only 20 out of over a thousand hospitals in the country supply this monitoring bank.

Most injuries are classified as “brain trauma” (129) and are attributable to falling down stairs (169).

“Children, for example, are also more likely to reach for tea and get burned,” explains Liane Fransblow, trauma coordinator at Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Aside from being dangerous, “crutches are useless and probably even harmful to the child’s psychomotor development,” warns the Quebec National Institute of Public Health.

The rolling speaker we ordered and received was of poor quality. Thanks to an image search, we were able to find it in a bundle at the Chinese wholesaler Alibaba.com for around 10 US dollars each. The product is not accompanied by assembly instructions or warnings, such as those relating to the risks associated with stairs.

The “Ignored” Law

When asked by La Presse, seller GuoJiaYi-gjy, who had offered a walker to Amazon.ca, assured that he was unaware of Canadian law before withdrawing his ad.

Three other retailers, PFpm shop, wqdBD and WQD wangds, gave us an identical response: “We have doubts.” [au sujet de la loi canadienne], They write. We check the relevant regulations and if the product does not meet the requirements, we take it off the shelf. »

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Examples of walking aids still for sale on Amazon.ca at time of publication

The hikers identified by La Presse at Amazon.ca have been removed due to our queries to Health Canada. At least four models reappeared on the site in the weeks that followed. Those ads were removed when we surveyed the e-commerce giant. At the time of publication, at least ten new models had found their way onto the platform.

Sellers represented on Amazon are contractually bound to ensure their products comply with all applicable laws and Amazon’s compliance policies.

Ryma Boussoufa, spokeswoman for Amazon Canada, via email

A safety and compliance program “uses various methods to proactively identify and remove notices posted on Amazon.ca related to recalled, prohibited and non-compliant products,” she adds.

Also on the internet

“Any company that sells products in Canada has a responsibility to ensure their product meets the requirements of the Canadian market,” said Marius Foltea, Health Canada’s consumer product safety inspector. Whether online or in store, the responsibility is the same. »

Many speakers remain accessible to Quebecers on the Amazon.com or Amazon.fr websites, based respectively in the United States and France, two countries that allow the sale of walking aids, albeit controversially. Their marketing should be banned, as in Canada, argue the American Academy of Pediatrics and the European Association for Child Safety.

Our customs officers should, by default, ban the entry of a [marchette] on wheels. But when lots of products arrive from all over the world, some may fall through the cracks.

Marius Foltea, Consumer Product Safety Inspector at Health Canada

California-based online marketplace Wish featured several Youpalas during our visit to the site, but at a hefty price tag: all cost over $400. “All merchants on our platform are required to comply with local laws and safety standards wherever their goods are sold,” said a Wish spokeswoman.

“We would like to thank La Presse for informing us about these registrations. We are working to remove them as a matter of urgency and are taking additional measures to ensure that they no longer appear. »

British Columbia-based online store Shopyfest.ca, on the other hand, offered about fifteen models at the time of publication. The company did not respond to our request for information.

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Examples of strollers offered on Shopyfest.ca

The eBay.ca and eBay.com platforms appear to be more proactive about the law. Our attempts to purchase a baby walker on these sites have been blocked with a warning: “Baby walkers shipped to Canada will be confiscated at customs.” At Health Canada’s request, eBay is providing information on purchasing baby walkers to all Canadian buyers. »

thread blinds

Another type of product recently banned from sale in Canada could still be easily purchased online: corded blinds. At the time of our purchase, at least a dozen non-compliant models were displayed on Amazon.ca.

With just a few clicks we were able to order a window covering with a ball chain of around 150 centimetres, which is well above the legal limit. The product marked as “Amazon’s Choice” was offered free one-day delivery with “Prime”.

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Ordered non-compliant string roller blind from Amazon.ca

Amazon withdrew this particular product at our request, but other models from the same brand that were nearly identical in all respects were still available. At the time of publication, other illegal blinds were being offered. Non-compliant models can also be purchased on Wish and Shopyfest.ca.

From May 1, 2021, an accessible cord of an indoor window covering must not be longer than 22 centimeters. In fact, the law was implemented a year later, in the summer of 2022.

“In Canada, there have been numerous reports of strangulation fatalities and near-fatal incidents caused by accessible blinds and window coverings with long cords,” writes Health Canada. As of 2020, about one infant died every year in the country after being strangled by a blind cord.

According to information from Le Journal de Québec and Noovo, a toddler died in Beauce on April 10 after being injured by the cord of blinds.

The blind we received contained a warning that said ‘risk of child strangulation’. “The ropes must be kept out of the reach of children to avoid strangulation or other entanglement,” it said.

“Retailers may not sell corded blinds that indicate they must be placed out of the reach of children,” said Joshua Coke, media relations manager at Health Canada.

The rule is designed to “resolve window covering incidents where infants and young children have gained access to the cords in a manner not intended by the caregiver,” he said.

Mr. Coke gives examples of children stretching to full length or moving furniture to access cords.

* According to the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act

What is regulated by law?

A baby walker that is mounted on wheels or other objects so it can be moved, and has a fence that keeps the baby in a sitting or standing position so that their feet touch the ground, allowing the baby walker to move horizontally.

What to do ?

Although Quebec residents are not prohibited from purchasing and possessing mobility aids, Health Canada recommends that parents destroy and dispose of them immediately. Non-compliant blinds sold after the law goes into effect must be returned to the retailer and a refund requested.

What are the risks for sellers of prohibited products?

If convicted on summary conviction: maximum fine of US$250,000 and/or six months imprisonment

Charge: Maximum fine of $5,000,000 and/or up to two years imprisonment

Recalled products on the shelves

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La Presse noted that many products recalled in 2022 and 2023 are still available in stores or online marketplaces in Quebec.

Wired walkers and blinds aren’t the only “baddies” identified by Health Canada that continue to thrive on the internet. La Presse showed more than 20 “games and toys” that were recalled in 2022 and 2023 and were therefore banned from sale by the manufacturer or importer.

At the time of our purchase, nine of these were still for sale in stores or online markets in Quebec.

Canada’s recall law is more flexible for retailers than other players in the market chain. It stipulates that anyone is banned from selling a consumer product if “he knows” it is the subject of an endorsement, a condition that is difficult to prove. Importing a recalled product remains illegal at all times.

“When a recall notice is issued by Health Canada, inspectors are present at distributors, importers and retailers to make sure the products are being pulled off the shelves,” said Marius Foltea, product safety inspector at Health Canada’s Consumer Protection.

However, information campaigns are not infallible. At least five items that had to be recalled due to choking hazards for babies were still within reach of Quebec residents. This is the case, for example, with Kid O’s light-up Hudson rattle, whose legs can be detached from the body. Three incidents have been reported in the United States.

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Kid O’s light-up Hudson rattle whose legs can detach and cause choking.

We were able to purchase the product online through the Quebec bookstore chain Buropro Citation. The toy was removed due to our questions.

Pacifier and bottle accessories offered with Calico Critters figures continued to be sold at Benjo in Quebec. According to manufacturer Epoch Everstanding Play, the small objects resulted in the suffocation of two small children.

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Pacifier and bottle accessories offered with Calico Critters figures continued to be sold at Benjo in Quebec.

In most cases, Health Canada contacts manufacturers or distributors directly, who sometimes also contact sales representatives. When there are too many intermediaries, the information does not always reach its destination.

Valérie Hamel, director and co-owner of Benjo

The problematic toy set was still for sale at press time.

The accessories were also available in the Raoul Chagnon stores in Beloeil and Saint-Hyacinthe, as well as online, before being discontinued following our request for information.

Infectious microorganisms

In the case of teething toys, one model by Infantino and another by bblüv (Gümi) were withdrawn from the market because they contained a filling liquid contaminated with potentially infectious microorganisms.

La Presse easily sourced these products from online sites Shopyfest, which didn’t answer our questions, and iHerb. “We are continuing to investigate the issue internally and are reviewing the toy’s recall information,” said a representative for the US natural products retailer.

  • The teething toy Gümi from bllüv


    The teething toy Gümi from bllüv

  • Infantino teethers


    Infantino teethers


A Jetson-branded scooter, the Blue Star, ended up in liquidation centers in Quebec after a recall – CHAP aubaines and Liquidation 125 Plus, for example. According to Health Canada, “unscrewing a screw securing the wheel could cause one of the wheels to come loose and create a trip hazard.”

In all of these examples, the lot and item numbers matched those affected by the recalls.

Health Canada encourages consumers to report any incident related to a product sold in the country, whether or not it is the subject of a recommendation.

* According to the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act

Marketplace, get rid of banned products

Individuals are also acting unlawfully when selling or giving away banned products, such as walkers and corded blinds, on second-hand markets such as Marketplace and Kijiji. “When someone creates an ad on Marketplace, they certify that the ad complies with Facebook’s business policies and all applicable laws,” said a Meta spokesperson. “We are working with local authorities, including Health Canada, to trace and remove prohibited items. »

Marius Foltea, inspector at the ministry, ensures that staff are proactive in monitoring announcements and that some are withdrawn over time. Nevertheless, baby walkers are very popular on Marketplace. they sell quickly and at a high price. Dealing with individuals is collaborative rather than punitive, stresses Mr Foltea.

With regard to the recalled items, the question is whether the advertiser was aware of Health Canada’s notices, a criterion of illegality that is difficult to prove. One of the non-compliant products that appears most often in the classifieds is the Bumbo seat without a seat belt. “If your floor seat doesn’t have a restraint belt [intégrée depuis 2012]”Your product is more than five years old and has expired,” a spokeswoman for the South African company said. These products are therefore expired and dangerous. “We urge you to stop using them,” she continues.

What are sellers of recalled products at risk?

If convicted on summary conviction: for a first offense, a fine not exceeding $500,000 and/or imprisonment for a maximum of 18 months

By indictment: a fine the amount of which is left to the discretion of the court and/or imprisonment for a maximum of five years

Per Administrative Penalty: $25,000 maximum