Unsafe cot mattresses are putting babies at risk

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

In news that will help parents sleep a little easier, all cots tested by consumer advocacy group CHOICE have passed its most recent rigorous safety testing.  But while cot manufacturers have lifted their game, some mattresses are still failing to meet safety requirements - and placing babies at risk.

"Sixty-eight per cent of the cots we tested between 2012 and 2017 failed to meet some of our key safety requirements, so it's a welcome development that each of the 10 cots put through our most recent test passed the safety component," says CHOICE spokesperson Nicky Breen.

In contrast, however, two of the thirteen mattresses failed. "A gap of even a few centimetres between the cot wall and the mattress could cause suffocation, so we also make sure the claimed measurements are accurate," CHOICE notes. Currently, unlike cots, there's no mandatory safety standard in Australia for mattresses.

The latest mattresses to fail key CHOICE safety tests are:

  • Leander Comfort +7
  • Love N Care Innerspring Mattress

"Although the cot mattress tests were better than in previous years, given the risks to infants from a poor mattress include suffocation and head entrapment, any key safety failure is simply not good enough," Ms Breen says.

While they're hailing the latest results as a win, CHOICE believes it shouldn't take years for problems to be identified and then fixed after the fact.

"It's great to see that cot manufacturers are finally stepping up and making their products safer, after years of CHOICE raising the alarm, but it's taken too many years of pressure on the industry to get here" says CHOICE Head of Policy, Sarah Agar.

"We still need strong product safety laws to ensure that businesses are designing safe products from the get-go. That's why CHOICE is calling for a bipartisan commitment from the responsible MPs, Stuart Robert and Madeleine King, for a General Safety Provision in the lead up to the 2019 Federal Election," Ms Agar says. "Parents shouldn't have to rely on a not-for-profit consumer organisation like CHOICE to test products for safety and push individual businesses to fix products that are already on the market and endangering children."

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Ms Agar also highlights that cots that previously failed testing are still available, something parents buying secondhand baby goods online should be aware of.

In their call for stronger product laws, which you can sign here, CHOICE notes that the improved results for cot safety follow years of  "publicly shaming manufacturers who were doing the wrong thing."

"It's great to see that over time we can have an impact like this, but the system should work better," they say.

Parents looking to buy a cot for their little one should be aware of the following issues:

  • Is the cot deep enough to stop a child from falling out?
  • Does the mattress fit snugly around all sides?
  • Are there any head entrapment hazards?
  • Can you see any limb or finger entrapment hazards?
  • Are there any sharp edges or protruding parts?

You can read the full CHOICE report here