En­sure cots meet safety stan­dards

Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - Gwyn­neth Hay­wood Gwyn­neth Hay­wood is the se­nior re­gional of­fi­cer for Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion.

Cots are sup­posed to be a place for ba­bies to rest and sleep safely, but Kid­safe WA re­ports 51 chil­dren were taken to Princess Mar­garet Hospi­tal in 2014/2015 with cot-re­lated in­juries.

If you buy or re­ceive a sec­ond-hand cot, it may not meet cur­rent Aus­tralian safety stan­dards, in­creas­ing the risk of in­jury to any baby placed in that cot.

For ex­am­ple, there is a min­i­mum and max­i­mum gap al­lowed be­tween cot bars to en­sure in­fants do not trap their head or limbs.

A com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign to raise aware­ness of the dan­gers of sec­ond-hand cots has started in WA. Par­ents and car­ers are be­ing urged to check and mea­sure older cots and to de­stroy any that do not meet the lat­est safety re­quire­ments.

The main mea­sure­ments to check are:

Spac­ing be­tween bars or pan­els should be no greater than 95mm.

New cots can­not have spa­ces be­tween 30mm and 50mm wide. This is to pre­vent a child’s arms or legs be­com­ing trapped.

En­sure the mat­tress is firm and fits tightly — gaps should be no more than 20mm.

The dis­tance be­tween the base of the mat­tress to the top of the cot should be 600mm, and 250mm when the drop side is down. If the base is ad­justable, the dis­tance is 400mm when the base is at its high­est po­si­tion.

Fit­tings, bolts, knobs or cor­ner posts should not stick out more than 8mm be­cause they could catch onto a child’s cloth­ing, caus­ing dis­tress or stran­gu­la­tion.

With sec­ond-hand cots you also need to check their over­all sta­bil­ity, en­sure rails and base slats are firmly at­tached and in­tact, and that there are no sharp edges. Also check that nuts and bolts are tight and all mech­a­nisms are in good work­ing or­der.

The aware­ness cam­paign aims at pre­vent­ing the sale and ex­change of dan­ger­ous cots that can in­jure or even kill a baby.

Mes­sages about cot safety reg­u­la­tions are be­ing di­rected to par­ents and carer groups, on­line clas­si­fied web­sites, char­ity and sec­ond-hand fur­ni­ture stores as well as the wider com­mu­nity be­cause friends and rel­a­tives of new par­ents of­ten give them used cots. To get the warn­ing across, there’s also a video, smart­phone app and poster, all of which can be viewed or down­loaded from com­merce.wa.gov.au/cp/sec­ond hand­cots.

It is il­le­gal for re­tail stores or an on­line busi­ness to sell any prod­uct that fails to com­ply with manda­tory safety stan­dards. How­ever, there have been sev­eral re­cent prod­uct safety re­calls af­ter the Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion found mul­ti­ple cot sup­pli­ers were sell­ing cots that do not con­form to manda­tory stan­dards.

Vin­tage items might look good in a nurs­ery but re­mem­ber an­tique cots do not meet cur­rent safety stan­dards and should not be sold as us­able items or used to put a baby in be­cause they could lead to a fam­ily tragedy.

Con­sumers can re­port the sale of un­safe cots to Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion by email­ing con­sumer@com­merce.wa.gov.au or call­ing 1300 30 40 54.

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