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Parents hit out at EU over tiny deadly toys.

The mother of a Birmingham girl who choked to death on a toy has hit out at the complacency of the European Commission after it rejected calls to ban tiny novelties sold in chocolate eggs.

Jennifer Ashton, aged three, died after she choked on a piece of a Pink Panther figure found inside a Kinder Surprise egg in 1989.

Since then her mother, Mrs Glenys Ashton, of Kitwell, Bartley Green, and the parents of two other children who died in similar circumstance have campaigned for the products to be withdrawn from stores across the European Union.

The parents of Roddy Breslin, aged three, from Omagh, County Tyrone, and four-year-old Caron Day, from Blackpool, are also leading the campaign for compulsory safeguards against toys which in some cases resemble and even taste like the foodstuffs in which they are contained.

All three children died after swallowing small parts of toys inside edible eggs.

A joint statement issued by the three families of the young victims said: 'These accidents happened some years ago but so far we have been unable to do anything to change the situation in the United Kingdom.

'We want to do our utmost to ensure that other children do not die from eating these terrible products and we know that there have been similar accidents in other European countries.'

The three families petitioned Euro-MPs earlier this year, urging action across the European Union.

But EU Commission research officials told a meeting of MEPs in Brussels yesterday that there was no evidence of a particular risk associated with the marketing of the small toys inside sweets.

'This is very complacent. There is a clear and present danger and it should not be necessary for more children to die because the Commission is too complacent to make an urgent assessment of the risks involved,' said Labour Euro-MP Mr Phillip Whitehead.

He was speaking after the European Parliament's environment committee urged the Commission to follow America's lead and block sales of toys which the US health and safety authorities have deemed too dangerous for small children.

Mr Whitehead said: 'This afternoon's meeting showed there is heavy pressure building up on this issue, whatever the Commission says. We now want to bring this matter before the health and safety Commissioner David Byrne and take it to the full European Parliament.'
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Author:Brady, Emma
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 12, 2000
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