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Choosing baby safe nursery furniture

Baby lying in cotBaby safe nursery items and furniture are an absolute must.

This can become overwhelming when you need to purchase so many different pieces of furniture and equipment – but it important to consider some key points.

But what are the key points that you need to think about?

Here are some of the main factors to consider when buying, borrowing, or hiring nursery furniture, prams, or strollers. Safe use is also important and we’ve included some useful pointers for positioning and everyday use.

To keep your nursery furniture safe, maintain and inspect regularly. Repair or replace immediately when signs of damage appear.

 

Cots

  • ensure that the cot itself is safe:
    • complies with Australian Standard AS/NZS 2172
    • all locking features are secure
    • the mattress fits with no gap wider than a finger width all way round
    • there are no protrusions that clothing could get caught on
  • there is nothing placed inside the cot that could cause danger:
    • large toys
    • cot bumpers
    • pillows
  • the cot is not placed near any potential hazards:
    • power points
    • curtain cords and mobiles hung too low
    • windows
    • heaters
  • when baby starts to climb, replace the cot with a bed

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has also been attributed, in some cases, to infant sleeping conditions – including bedding and temperature control.

 

Prams & strollers

  • safety considerations:
    • prams should comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 2088
    • have wheel locks which are sturdy and strong
    • have a 5-point harness with shoulder straps, waist & crotch straps
    • a pram which is easy to collapse for taking in/out of car, but which locks firmly when in use
  • personal preferences may dictate your final choice of pram, considerations such as:
    • adjustable back-rest, new babies need to be able to lie flat, older children prefer to sit up and look around
    • reversible handle that allows you to push from both ways to keep your child out of the sun at all times
    • amount of storage space underneath the pram
  • safe use:
    • consider buying a sun & insect protection net
    • don’t hang anything heavy on the handle which could cause it to tip over
    • never leave your child unattended
    • always use the safety harness
    • young babies should be placed in a lying, rather than sitting, position until they have sufficient head control
  • upright strollers, without adjustable back rests, are not suitable for babies under 6 months of age

 

Change Tables

  • ensure that change table is stable & in good condition:
    • any locking mechanisms are in good order
    • there are no gaps that could trap little fingers or limbs
    • has roll-off protection, such as raised sides or a waist restraint
  • the table is positioned away from any potential hazards:
    • pins, lotions & bottles
    • power points
    • curtain cords and mobiles hung too low
    • windows
    • heaters
  • you should supervise at all times – never leave a child alone on a change table; avoid distractions, such as the telephone – consider taking the phone off the hook or putting the answerphone on.

 

Bouncers

  • bouncers should have a 5-point harness that you use every time
  • never change adjustable parts (such as back rest) whilst child is in seat
  • use on level ground only – never on raised surfaces
  • position well away from any potential hazards:
    • electrical power points & cords
    • heaters
    • stairs
    • curtain cords

 

Toy Boxes

Toy box lids can cause very serious injuries if they fall on a child’s fingers, limbs, or head.

  • safety considerations:
    • consider buying a  toy box without a lid
    • if box has a lid, make sure that it is lightweight & completely removeable
    • the lid hinge should lock in place when fully open and close only slowly
    • the box should have air holes – in case child gets trapped inside
  • safe use:
    • keep toy box locked – but with a lock that a child could open from inside if they became trapped
    • fit rubber stoppers on the underside of the lid so that it can’t slam shut

 

Baby Walkers

A lot of serious injuries have been caused by baby walkers and their use is not usually recommended. If you do decide to use a baby walker, look for one with good safety features.

  • safety considerations:
    • automatic safety wheels which lock when a change in floor height is detected (e.g. at the top of stairs)
    • walker which is too wide to fit through doorways or stair openings
    • wheel locking mechanisms which can’t be reached by a child inside the walker
  • safe use:
    • only ever use under close supervision
    • use away from stairs
    • use on flat ground, never on raised surfaces
    • put barriers around stoves, fires and heaters
    • consider other toys or stationary activity centres to keep your child amused

 

High Chairs

  • safety considerations:
    • 5-point harness with straps (both shoulders, waist, and crotch)
    • wide, stable base
    • no areas where little fingers and arms could get trapped in moveable parts (e.g. reclining seats and tables that move backwards & forwards)
    • if it has wheels – can they be locked in place?
  • personal preferences:
    • easy to clean (food can get stuck in the creases of padded chairs)
    • adjustable height
    • folds away for easy storage or transportation
  • safe use, always:
    • strap your child in
    • supervise your child
    • position well away from any potential hazards:
      • things on work surfaces / shelves (at least ½m is recommended)
      • electrical appliances & cables
      • cords on blinds/curtains
      • hot drinks / saucepans on nearby surfaces
      • walls that child could push on and topple chair

 

Further information

 

Image credit: nyul/123RF Stock Photo

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