Preparing the nursery for a new arrival can be a mind-boggling exercise; cots, basinets, change tables, baths, prams, toys, car seats, the list goes on. Whether it is shopping for bargains, getting second-hand products from friends or planning what goes where, expecting parents can benefit by taking a crash course in product safety.
Check whether infant and nursery products you buy or are given meet Australian standards. Mandatory standards set out required safety features and /or warnings, labels or instructions that must come with a product. They apply to everyday items such as children’s cots, child restraints and baby walkers. Some products not covered by mandatory standards are made to meet voluntary safety standards. Voluntary standards are not required by law but are designed to ensure products are safe, reliable and consistently perform as intended. You can also visit recalls.gov.au to check whether any of your baby products have been recalled.
Make sure you follow instructions for assembly and use. Babies don’t come with instructions or warning labels, but fortunately many of their products do. It pays to get started on the right foot and choose products that suit your child’s age, weight and size. Take heed of warning labels–they are in place because accidents have occurred in the past. For example, labelling on baby bath aids makes it clear that they are not a safety device and adults must never leave children unsupervised.
Find and remove hazards around your home. Before your baby gets mobile, conduct a safety sweep to remove choking hazards. The ACCC’s Choke Check tool, which you can print and make at home, can help determine which objects might be a choking hazard.
Keep coin-sized button batteries and devices out of reach and promptly dispose of used batteries. If swallowed, button batteries can get stuck in a child’s throat and burn through the oesophagus as little as two hours. Keep devices out of harm’s way and make sure the battery compartment is secure. Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery.
Set up the cot well away from blind, curtain and electrical cords as loose or looped cords can strangle small children. Secure all blind and window cords throughout the house with tie-downs and tension devices.
To help parents we have a free iPhone and iPad app in the iTunes Store called Keeping Baby Safe – a guide to infant and nursery products. The ACCC has a range of online content for parents to help keep their home safe for little ones. Keep up to date with all these tips and alerts by subscribing to our website productsafety.gov.au.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Product Safety