First-time parents need to use a different eye for detail when buying baby furniture. Instead of colour, style and comfort, safety is the vital requirement. Around one in five injuries to children less than 12 months of age involves baby furniture. Remember, even if your baby furniture meets every safety standard and suggestion, your child still needs constant supervision.
Around one in five accidents involving baby furniture occurs in the cot.
Injuries include falls and getting parts of the bidy stuck between the bars. All cots in Australia need to comply with the Australian Standard AS2172. If you are getting your cot as a hand me down, make sure it meets the following requirements.
- The bars should be spaced between 50-85mm apart
- The cot should have a minimum depth of 600mm from the base of the mattress to the top of the cot when the base is in it's lowest position.
- The gap between the mattress and the cot on all sides should be under 2.5cm
- If the cot has four castors or wheels, at least two of the wheels should be fitted with brakes.
Safety considerations for Cots
When setting up the cot:
- Don't put it too close to heaters or windows.
- Don't hang anything nearby where there is a danger of the item falling into the cot
- Keep the cot uncluttered.
Before your baby can sit up
- Remove all mobiles as babies can strangle themselves with these items.
- Put the cot down to the lowest position.
Most injuries are caused by the pram or stroller tipping backwards. Choose a pram or stroller that complies with the Australian Standard AS2088. Other considerations include:
- A full five-point body harness.
- Brakes fitted to at least two wheels.
- Sensible storage space, such as a basket slung underneath.
- Gap-free interior so the child’s fingers and toes can’t get caught.
Safety considerations for strollers
To reduce the risk of injury:
- Use the safety harness – even for short trips
- Don’t hang shopping bags from the stroller handles.
- Don’t allow a child to be left alone sleeping in a pram or stroller.
Around one in four baby furniture related injuries occur in high chairs. Falling is a common cause of injury. Considerations when buying a high chair include:
- A sturdy design that doesn’t rock easily
- A full body safety harness
- A tray that can’t be moved by the child.
- Safety considerations for high chairs
To reduce the risk of falls from high chairs
- Always use the five-point body harness restraint.
- Always supervise the child.
- Keep the chair away from appliance cords, curtains and anything else the child could grab.
- Keep the high chair at least one metre away from kitchen benches and stovetops to avoid the risk of burns and scalds.
Babies frequently fall from change tables. Around one in four baby furniture related injuries that require hospital treatment involve change tables. A change table should have:
- Roll-off protection, such as raised edges
- A waist strap
- No gaps that could injure fingers or toes.
Keep one hand on the child at all times.
PlaypensWhen buying a playpen, remember that children as young as nine months of age can pull themselves up into a standing position, so make sure the playpen is sturdy. Other considerations include:
- The playpen should be at least half a metre high.
- The bars should be spaced between 50 and 85mm apart (similar to a cot).
- Locks should be inaccessible to the child.
Avoid the following items of baby furniture:
Babywalkers – babies have little control over their direction and speed and can easily overbalance.
Toy boxes with heavy lids – the child might have the strength to open the lid, but not to hold it. Children can be hit on the head or hands with the slamming lid.
Things to remember
- by furniture accounts for around 20Ba per cent of injuries to children aged 12 months or less.
- Cots must comply with Australian safety standard AS/NZS 2172
- Even if your baby furniture meets every safety standard and suggestion, your child still needs close supervision.