Consumer affairs and Product Safety
Keep baby sleeping safe and sound
Infant and nursery safety
Every year hundreds of children in Australia need hospital treatment for injuries caused by infant and nursery products.
While most manufacturers work to ensure their products are safe, from time to time some enter the market that may fail to meet safety standards.
Over the past five months, national product safety regulators have conducted inspections across Australia to check for unsafe items and, where required, seized nursery products to keep children safe.
Unsafe cots can cause infants to suffocate, particularly when trapped against bedding or soft toys.
Household and folding cot tragedies
In 2006, an infant in Australia suffocated after becoming wedged between the side of a cot and a mattress. There was a dangerous gap in one side of the cot, which trapped the child's face against the mattress.
The gap was caused by a missing part in a corner bracket under the cot. The corner of the cot was loose due to this missing part, which caused the mattress to move.
Maintenance issues such as this can undermine safety features on new and second-hand cots and can cause serious injuries and death.
Folding cots can also present significant safety risks if they are not used properly. In 2004, an infant suffocated after he was wedged in a gap between the mattress and the side of a borrowed folding cot. An additional mattress, which did not touch all sides of the cot, had left a dangerous gap between the mattress and the side.
Five simple tips to help your baby sleep safe and sound
1. Always check that new and second-hand household cots meet mandatory standards.
2. If parts are broken, always get a reliable cot supplier to organise repairs so that all safety features are retained.
3. If the supplier cannot organise to have the cot fixed, stop using it immediately and dispose of it.
4. Only use mattresses specifically designed for your cot. Ill-fitting mattress can create dangerous gaps that can trap a sleeping child and cause suffocation.
5. Never place an extra mattress in household or folding cots. While the mattress that comes with the cot may look thin and uncomfortable to you, it has been designed for the comfort and safety of babies and infants.
This household cot does not comply with safety laws because it has:
- Spaces capable of trapping a baby’s limbs and head
- Extensions that could catch children's clothing and strangle them
- A base that can’t support a child's weight
- No warning or safety labelling
General safety advice for parents
When you’re buying products for your baby, always ensure they:
- meet safety standards
- come with instructions for safe assembly and use
- are complete with no worn or missing parts
- have not been recalled for safety reasons: www.recalls.gov.au
Order yourself a free copy of Keeping Baby Safe, which provides advice on unsafe baby products and easy-to-follow tips.
You can also visit http://productsafety.gov.au for all current safety warnings, product recalls and standards.