General, HP, Trading Standards

Trading standards warns over labelling of popular baby products

Shops and online retailers are selling two popular baby products without safety warnings despite a series of deaths from suffocation, a trading standards investigation has found.

Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards led research into safety information provided with nappy bags and pouch-style baby slings sold by high street stores and web-based retailers.

Spot checks made by trading standards officers found that three in 10 slings and one in 10 packs of nappy bags carried no safety warnings.

Nappy bags made of light plastic can be dangerous because they are easy for babies to grasp and bring to their mouths. The products have been linked to at least 16 deaths from suffocation in England and Wales.

The slings looked at as part of the investigation were those which cradle the baby’s whole body in a fabric pouch, with no arm or leg holes. Care must be taken to ensure babies do not slip into a chin-to-chest position restricting their ability to breathe and that fabric does not become pressed against their nose and mouth.

Following the study, eight retailers were referred to their local trading standards teams over a lack of safety information on their products.

The report says it should be mandatory for nappy sacks and baby slings to carry suffocation warnings to help ensure the information becomes standard. It also calls for nappy bags to be sold in rolls or in packets with clips to make it harder for babies to grab them.

The research was funded by the then Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and was carried out by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards in conjunction with Isle of Wight Trading Standards, Reading Trading Standards and West Berkshire & Wokingham Trading Standards.

Richard Walsh, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Localities and Community Wellbeing, said: “Products should have clear safety instructions particularly when they are intended for children and this research by several trading standards teams working together has highlighted that more could be done to make sure babies are kept safe.”

For the full report, click here.

RoSPA’s advice on nappy sacks is available here and its advice on slings is here.

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