Sleep safe: Cot safety warning

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The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is reminding Queensland parents and caregivers to be vigilant when setting up household cots for their children following the death of a toddler in the United Kingdom.

The 14 month old baby suffered from strangulation when an item of clothing caught on a hook attached to the cot.

The Coroner listed the cause of death as hanging and ruled it an accidental death, after the baby tried to move out of the cot and became entangled.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said though it was a rare event, the tragic incident was a reminder that parents needed to be very mindful of the risks associated with adding accessories to children’s sleeping environments and the easy methods of prevention.

“All new cots supplied within Australia must meet a strict safety standard prohibiting items and accessories that protrude being attached to a cot as they create a catch hazard,” Mr Bauer said.

“Parents and caregivers are urged to not attach, stick or add any item to the inside or outside of a cot that could catch on a child’s clothing and become a hanging hazard.

“Products like cots have the potential to become dangerous if used incorrectly and these risks aren’t always obvious.

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“There should be no protrusions greater than 5mm, unless they are specifically designed in a way that cannot snag children’s clothing.”

To minimise the risk of strangulation:

  • Use a safe cot that meets the Australian Standard (AS 2172).
  • Be very careful about using cots that have been handed down or are second hand – they are unlikely to meet the current safety standards.
  • Set up the cot out of reach of blinds and curtains – do not let the cords dangle in the cot.
  • Keep decorative mobiles out of reach.
  • Never attach, stick or add any hooks or similar items to the inside or outside of the cot.
  • Use all cot equipment as described by the safety instructions and labels.

For more information on cot safety, visit the OFT website or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

(Source: Australian Competition & Consumer Commission)

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Date Created: September 23, 2015