Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Better safe than sorry!

As we all know, babies and toddlers need a lot of accessories, especially in their first few years.

There are a number of things that we automatically assume are normally found in a nursery and/or household with babies and toddlers present.  This issue is this - just because they are a normal sight, doesn't mean they're safe.

Let's have a look at a couple of items that are very commonly found in a child-friendly environment that are actually dangerous.

Baby walkers
You know, them wheely framed things you see babies zooming around in? The ones that can keep them amused for hours? Well, it turns out they are quite dangerous! I wasn't entirely surprised to find this out to be honest. Here are the facts:
  • In 1997, baby walkers sent more than 14,000 babies to the hospital emergency room. Walkers were even involved in 34 deaths from 1973 to 1998.
  • Many parents believe that such walkers teach a child to walk faster; however, studies suggest that it is not true, and they may actually delay walking by two to three weeks
  • In Canada, the sale of baby walkers was banned on April 7, 2004.Canada is the first country in the world to ban the sale, importation and advertisement of baby walkers. This ban extends to modified and second hand baby walkers, including those sold at a yard sale or flea markets. The Consumers Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) changed the items that were allowed to be sold at such sales. Owners of baby walkers may be fined up to $100,000 or sentenced to up to six months in jail.
  • Babies learn to walk in part by watching and understanding how their feet and legs move. If a walker has a tray, they can't see what's happening with their lower body and don't get the information they need about their motor development.
  •  In addition to falls down stairs and falls out of their walker, many infants are injured each year as their mobile baby walker makes them a little too mobile and able to get to things that would otherwise be out of reach. This may allow them to reach countertops and get burned or poisoned by things they pull down, drown by falling into a pool, bathtub, or toilet, or simply hurting their fingers and toes if they get pinched.
Cot Bumpers
Cot bumpers are those quilty things that are tied to the bars of a cot to make it fancier and to protect the baby from bashing his/her head against the cot's bars.

Although they offer some measure of safety, they are also pretty dangerous too. Should you opt to get a cot bumper set for your kidlet, please weight fully the pros and cons and make an informed decision.

Here are the facts:

  • There can possibly be a danger of strangulation and/or suffocation if the baby’s head is smothered by a crib bumper or cot bumper pad. This can quite easily happen if one of the bumpers' ties becomes undone, causing it to flop down over the baby's face.  It can also happen if baby moves about a lot in his/her sleep and ends up pushing his/her face against the bumper.
  • The baby can overheat with the restriction of air flow. Babies have little to no control over their body temperatures at first, so they can very easily end up overheating.  I personally couldn't stop giggling when I first read this. I kept picturing said baby as a robot, overheating and shutting down, just like computers would do. But it actually is just a sorry coincidence that the same word is used for both circumstances. If a baby overheats, it can lead to SIDS [a.k.a. cot death]
  •  A baby can very easily choke on the bumper's ties if they come undone. After all, they are just thin strips of ribbon, commonly tied in a bow and/or a knot. Babies tend to like putting whatever they can put their hands on, in their mouth. Do the math.
  • A cot bumper should be removed altogether once a baby is sitting, as it may be used as a lever to climb out of the cot.
Finally, one last bit of advice. Baby accessories are expensive. I should know. Meaning a lot of people do as I do, as get whatever they can off a friend, or buy it 2nd hand. This means that you will not automatically be alerted if an item is recalled by the manufacturer.  So do yourself a favour. Google is your friend. Research stuff before AND after you buy it.

I'll give you a brief example as to why.

I was looking at a variety of baby slings with the intention of buying one. I came across these really cool slings that looked just like a handbag.

Cool, right?

Well, it turns out they have been recalled because of 3 infant deaths.

Ignorance is not bliss. Knowledge is.

Baby Walkers :

Cot bumpers:

Baby sling deaths:

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