New parents are bombarded with suggestions for what they ‘need’ for their baby, from well-meaning friends to online influencers and even very clever ads. But could it do more harm than good?
Not all products designed for babies are safe. They often attract parents with the promise of making sleeping, teething or carrying easier. But without safety regulations or proper use guidelines, they could cause a serious incident.
There have been accidents associated with bouncers, rockers and hammocks such as falls and entrapment, but the biggest hazard is the risk of a fatal sleeping accident. When a baby is put to sleep in one of these devices, their head can roll forward, blocking their airway.
Soft bedding accessories, like pillows, bumpers, or sleep positioners should not be introduced until your child is out of a cot and into a bed, even if they are marketed as being suitable for a cot.
Pillows can also cause a baby’s head to tip forward and block the airway. Bumpers and sleep positioners could block a child’s airways or cause overheating.
Additionally, there is no Australian Standard for sleep positioners and restricting your baby’s body or head movement has been shown in case studies to be dangerous.
Slings are another popular baby item that have the potential to suffocate your baby. When worn incorrectly, babies may have their chin to their chest or be pressing against the sling or wearer.
Finally, teething necklaces, such as amber beads, should not be worn during sleep. There is no scientific evidence that they relieve the pain of teething, and they could become tight around baby’s neck, restricting breathing or even strangling your baby. Infants should always be supervised to avoid this and prevent breaks which could cause a bead to come loose.
If you’re a new parent, keep things simple when buying for your baby. Here’s a simple guide to setting up a nursery.
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Last modified: 29/11/21