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Now the EU is warning that toddlers can choke on a football… despite balls being bigger than an adult's head Balls with circumference of 25in must be marked 'Choking hazard!'Manufacturer Bellco Sports confirmed it had to comply with the rules
01:52 GMT, 26 December 2012
A kickabout in the park might leave many dads suffering after their exertions, but it could have deadly consequences for toddlers – according to EU officials.
Toy footballs now have to be stamped with a warning that they are a choking hazard for the under-threes, despite the balls being bigger than an adult’s head.
The brightly coloured plastic balls with a circumference of 25in – just under the size used in the Premier League – come with the caution: ‘Warning! Not suitable for children under three years. Choking hazard.’
Danger: Toy footballs now have to be stamped with a warning that they are a choking hazard for under-threes, according to EU regulations
One manufacturer, Bellco Sports, which sells tens of thousands of its 1 balls every year in high streets all over the UK, confirmed it has had to comply with the EU regulations and brand them with the warning.
The balls bear the CE mark, which stands for Conformit Europene – translated as European Conformity – to show that they comply with EU legislation and are passed as meeting ‘harmonised levels of safety’.
Corner shop boss Jamal Hasan, from Hackney in east London, said he had ‘no idea’ that the balls came with a health and safety warning.
He said: ‘I sell hundreds of these balls every year, usually to parents with toddlers who are just learning to kick a ball.
Caution: Brightly coloured plastic balls with a circumference of 25in must come with the caution: 'Warning! Not suitable for children under three years. Choking hazard'
‘Nobody has ever pointed this out to me before and obviously parents have never complained because there is no way a child could choke on something bigger than its own head.’
Jo Bird, 38, from Hackney, who has a two-year-old daughter called Lili, said: ‘My daughter loves them – she’s had all the different colours and likes nothing better than kicking them across the park.
‘When I saw the health and safety warning I had to do a double take. I don’t see how it is physically possible for her to choke on a ball that’s bigger than her own head. In fact, it’s bigger than my head.’