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Safety and your baby

One of Trading Standards' key roles is to ensure that goods sold in Cornwall conform with safety laws. Safety is particularly important when looking after children. The following information aims to assist you.

Buy Safely

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Toys

Look for the CE Mark when buying new toys. Toys approved by the British Toy and Hobby Association will also carry the Lion Mark. Check the toy is suitable for your child's age group. Look out for warnings and always read instructions. Always buy from well-established companies and avoid cheap goods.  Beware of second hand toys. The original packaging may be missing which could include vital instructions or warnings. Beware of toys that have been damaged, modified or patched up.

Children's Clothing

Draw string hood cords on children's anoraks are illegal. Small attachments to clothing such as fur items (loose fibres) may not be safe for young children. Look for a label on nightwear which says:

  • keep away from fire
  • low flammability to BS 5722

Child Resistant Packaging

Make sure any bottles containing medicines or dangerous products have child resistant lids. You should also keep these out of sight and reach.

Remember: If in doubt about packaging contact Trading Standards.  If your child might have swallowed or eaten any harmful substances or products you should seek urgent professional medical advice.

Dummies

Make sure new dummies are marked BS EN 1400:2002. Always check dummies regularly for wear and holes.

Pushchairs/ Buggies/ Prams

New Pushchairs, Buggies and Prams must comply with BS 7409.  If you are buying second hand look for:

  • soundness of construction and stability;
  • a five point baby harness (older models may have a three point harness);
  • make sure the brakes work;
  • no finger traps and make sure there are no sharp points;
  • cleanliness -make sure the fabric is clean and not worn out;
  • a secondary locking device;
  • instructions (without instructions you cannot be sure you are operating it properly).

Electrical Appliances

Standard socket outlets in the home conform to rigorous safety standards. They have a safety shutter mechanism to prevent access when not in use with a plug inserted. The use of plug covers is not recommended or necessary due to the built in safety design of sockets. In fact plug covers may make the socket less safe.  

Avoid using long trailing leads where children can get access to them.  Plugs fitted to domestic appliances must conform to the BS 1363 safety standard.

Take extra care with powered appliances, especially in the kitchen. Keep them away from children

Fire Guards

The heating elements on fires must be guarded. Be particularly careful about buying second hand electric fires. Guards on used appliances may not protect children adequately.

Gas Appliances

To be sure a gas appliance is safe, you must consult a Gas Safe registered gas fitter. By law, any individual who undertakes fitting or repairing gas appliances must be registered by Gas Safe.  If in doubt contact the Gas Safe Register (Gas Safe Register) on 0800 408 5500. They keep a register of all gas installers on mainland Britain. 

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms can save lives but it is vital to fix them in the right place. Further details can be found on our Fire Brigade webpages.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Fit an audible alarm which will alert you to the presence of the poisonous gas, carbon monoxide. Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service provide a lot of information about carbon monoxide on their page: Carbon Monoxide. Further details can be found via the google website

Nappy Sacks

Nappy sacks and plastic bags are handy for disposing of used nappies but they pose a hazard to children. To avoid danger of suffocation and choking:

  • Always keep nappy sacks and other plastic bags and wrapping away from children.
  • Don’t store nappy sacks or plastic bags under or near a child’s:
    • cot
    • bed
    • highchair
    • playpen
    • car seat
    • pushchair or
    • carrier

Recently two very young babies have died of suffocation in the South West of England. They both managed to get hold of a plastic nappy sack which covered their faces.  In both cases, the bags were stored in reach of the babies. In one instance the bag was stored under the mattress of the child’s cot.

Parents and carers are generally aware of the dangers posed by plastic bags, but may not make the link to nappy sacks posing the same sort of risks.  Nappy sacks are made of much more flimsy material. These can be easily breathed in by young babies. They are much smaller and can be easily scrunched down the side of a cot or sofa and forgotten about.  They also do not rustle in the same way as plastic bags nor is there a safety warning on individual sacks.

We support the ANEC (ANEC is the European consumer voice in standardisation) recommendations:

  • A warning needs to be added on the product or box indicating that bags shall not be stored in the babies bedroom or sleeping area. They should not be stored within the babies reach as they can cause suffocation.
  • These bags need to be made stiffer or thicker.
  • The bags should be kept together on a roll instead of being packed individually in a box.  This would require some force when detaching them for use.

Please make people aware of the dangers, and encourage them to exercise the same caution. Keeping them well out of reach of babies and young children – as they would with normal plastic bags.

Blind Cords

Children can easily get blind cords caught around their neck and become unable to free themselves. To avoid danger of serious injury and strangulation:

  • Do cut looped cords and tie knots in the ends. 
  • Do tie-up cords out of children’s reach using cord shortener, cleat or clothes peg.
  • Don’t place a child’s cot, bed, highchair or playpen near to a window blind.

Hair Straighteners 

Young children’s skin is 15 times thinner than adults.  This means they can suffer painful burns more easily. To avoid danger of serious burns and fire:

  • Turn them off by the plug as soon as you have finished using them.
  • Tuck them in a heat resistant bag and put them out of children’s reach to cool down.
  • Tidy them away after use out of the sight and reach of children.

Child's Car Seat

Do not place your child restraint on any seat where there is an airbag fitted.  Choose your seat by your child's weight and stage of development, not by their age. Check regularly to ensure that your child has not out-grown his/her seat.

Useful tips about fitting car seats can be found on our Child Safety Seat Advice page.

This information is reproduced with kind permission of Cheshire County Council.