After a review into the safety of inclined infant sleeping products, the ACCC is now seeking views on how best to respond to these potentially deadly products.
Infants can suffocate when sleeping in so-called ‘infant inclined products’, such as bouncers, rockers, swings, loungers, bassinet-type products, wedges, recliners and sleep accessories due to the incline, curvature of the backrest and soft sleeping surface.
“Baby bouncers, rockers and recliners can be potentially deadly for infants, and the public health advice remains for infants to sleep on a flat, firm surface without pillows or bumpers,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“We are looking for feedback about these products to address the risks of injury and death.”
In the US, 73 infants died in incidents in infant inclined products between January 2005 and June 2019. There have been no fatalities in Australia that are reported to be directly attributed to infant inclined products.
“We are urging parents and carers to check if they have any of these products and to stop using them. You should contact the manufacturers directly to seek a refund,” Ms Rickard said.
“Often, baby products are handed down to family or friends when a child outgrows them. Make sure you do not unknowingly pass on a dangerous product.”
The ACCC has today published an issues paper with options to address the hazards of inclined sleeping products, and is seeking feedback from stakeholders, including consumer representatives, medical professionals, as well as manufacturers and retailers of infant inclined products.
There are currently no mandatory or voluntary standards in Australia that specifically apply to infant inclined products.
The issues paper outlines a range of options for stakeholders to contribute feedback to, including mandatory safety and information standards, bans, consumer education and improved on-product warnings and is seeking input into the potential costs and effectiveness of options to address the risks associated with infant inclined products.
The issues paper and information on the consultation process is available on the Product Safety Australia website. Consultation will close on 16 August 2021.
On 12 July 2019, the ACCC initiated a safety review of infant inclined products following reports of infant fatalities in the United States in bouncers, rockers and recliners. Due to the impact of COVID-19, this work was temporarily paused in early 2020.
Implementing strategies to prevent injuries and deaths to infants caused by sleeping products identified as unsafe is a Product Safety Priority for the ACCC this year.
‘Infant Inclined Products’ are a broad category of products used by parents and caregivers that position infants at an inclined angle. There are a number of different products potentially falling within this category such as rockers, bouncers, swings, co-sleepers and bassinet-type products.
The ACCC is particularly concerned about sleep products that are designed, or marketed as suitable for an infant to sleep in, with a sleep surface that has an incline greater than 10 degrees.
Advice for consumers:
If you have infant inclined sleeping products at home consider whether you want to continue using them.
If you continue to use the products:
- Never leave your infant unattended.
- Stop using the product when your baby begins to roll.
- Put the product on a flat floor surface, away from potential hazards.
- Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use of the product.
- Remember to only place infants to sleep on a flat, firm surface.
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