Dodgy walking sticks exposed in tests

Local | Sophie Hui Feb 15, 2018
More than half the walking sticks on sale in the city don't meet safety standards. That's the word from the Consumer Council.

The watchdog tested 30 sticks in the past fortnight and found a slight majority unsafe.

Customs ordered six retailers "to store in specified places" those suspected unsafe walking sticks after spot checks in the past two weeks.

Thirty-six suspected unsafe walking sticks of five models and one model of 38 suspected unsafe walking stick umbrellas were included.

"The walking sticks and walking stick umbrellas were suspected to be unsafe due to their structural and strength deficiencies which might pose the risk of falls to users, thus contravening the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance," Customs said.

It said safety tests will be arranged and spot checks will continue.

This came after the Consumer Council tested 30 non-wooden walking sticks, comprised half each of the foldable and non-foldable types, weighing 217 grams to 525 grams and priced from HK$80 to HK$1,080.

It also tested 10 cane umbrella samples, weighing 405 grams to 618 grams, priced at HK$30 to HK$260. It found that 90 percent of them did not comply with all safety standards.

Apart from markings and instructions, only six non-foldable and seven foldable walking sticks, and one cane umbrella passed the safety tests and received an overall rating of four or above out of five points.

Five cane umbrella models scored a minimum of one point. Tests found the walking sticks did not hold up well against weight, or they slipped easily on the floor.

Four other walking sticks and seven cane umbrellas posed risks of slipping and injuring users.

The watchdog also said if the tips of walking sticks are worn out or damaged easily, the stick would not have any grip on the floor and could cause users to slip.

Wong Kam-fai, chairman of the council's trade practices and consumer complaints review committee, said the safety performance of the cane umbrellas is worrying as many elderly people walk with cane umbrellas now.

"The council is urging the manufacturers to improve the safety performance of products while appealing to consumers in need of walking aids to choose walking sticks with higher safety performance instead," he said.

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January 2019