Product Safety Australia recommends cots should be void of toys and extra pillows to prevent suffocation. Source: Creative Commons
Product Safety Australia recommends cots should not have extra pillows and toys as they can lead to suffocation. Source: Creative Commons

Written by Catherine Butt, edited for online by Ashleigh Whittaker.

More than 50 children in Western Australia are injured in cot-related incidents each year.

The new figures have prompted Western Australia’s Commerce Minister Michael Mischin to initiate a new education campaign to prevent the sale or trade of cots that don’t comply with Australian safety standards.

Mr Mischin said the new child safety campaign will use posters, videos and a smartphone app to get the message of cot safety out to parents and the wider community.

The Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit found in a 13-year period, 421 cot-related injuries involving children under three were reported across 29 Queensland hospitals.

CEO of Kidsafe Queensland Susan Teerds said cot safety should be a concern for all Australian parents.

“I think the problem is that there are a lot of bassinets, hammocks, co-sleepers- they do not meet the Australian standards, because there isn’t one. The Australian standard only applies to the basic four-sided cot.”

She said Queensland would benefit from a similar initiative, which outlines the national requirements.

“I think people assume that if it is for sale at a baby’s shop or a second hand shop that it’s legal or it meets that standard, and that isn’t true. So I think a campaign advising parents of that would be a good idea.”

The Office of Fair Trading Queensland is often one of the first to respond when cots that don’t meet the standard collapse.

Product Safety Manager David Strachan said there are markets parents should avoid when purchasing a new cot.

“Be wary of buying products over the internet, they’re very difficult to check in terms of safety, but also be wary of buying products second hand and at markets and places like that, because I can guarantee you they won’t be as safe as the new product.”

Product Safety Australia recommends setting up cots out of reach of blind and curtain chords. Source: Creative Commons
Product Safety Australia recommends setting up cots out of reach of blind and curtain chords. Source: Creative Commons

He said the importance of safe cots shouldn’t be understated.

“Consumers need to understand, and new parents in particular, cots are one of the few products that a child is going to be left alone in for any length of time, so it is absolutely critical that it’s safe.”

Cot safety

Kidsafe Queensland said it is important to ensure mattresses are properly fitted so children don’t become wedged down the side of the cot.

Despite these warnings, new parents shouldn’t be discouraged from using second-hand cots but are advised to take precautions.

“I think it is unrealistic to say that everybody should buy a new cot. What they do need to do is look up a Product Safety Australia website, look at the standards for cots, take a tape measure with you when you’re buying a cot, and make sure that it meets the standard.”

Australian cot standards can be found here, on the Product Safety Australia website.