Calls To Ban Unsafe Products After Baby Rockers Linked To 73 Deaths
Australia's consumer watchdog is urging the government to introduce tighter product safety laws, following dozens of infant deaths linked to inclined sleepers in the United States.
The Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play and Kids2 rocking sleepers, as well as other inclined sleep products for babies, have been recalled globally following dozens of deaths.
Now there are calls for the Australian government to ensure more stringent safety checks before products make it onto retail shelves.
“We’ve seen countless examples of unsafe products flooding our homes,” Choice product safety campaigner, Amy Pereira said.
It shouldn’t be up to the person buying the product to check whether it’s going to harm them or not. They should be able to assume it’s safe.
Late last year, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to ban infant sleep products that have a sleep surface with an incline of more than 10 degrees. This includes products like the very popular Fisher-Price Rock 'N Play Sleeper, which has an incline of 30-degrees.
If the bill gets passed, businesses will not be allowed to sell inclined sleepers for infants, nor manufacture or distribute them.
“Inclined sleepers are particularly hazardous because of their soft, sloped surface. This kind of surface may increase the risk of sudden and unexpected death, as babies can roll over or have their head fall forward while in them and suffocate," Pereira said.
While two inclined sleeping products were recalled in Australia last year, Choice says the Federal Government needs to do more to make sure these products don't ever make it into Aussie homes.
“At the moment, the public is being treated as a testing lab for dangerous products. Safety tests should be conducted in factories, not in people’s homes,” Pereira said.
A U.S. study released in October found that all inclined sleepers are risky.
"There is no such thing as a safe infant inclined sleeper, a product that typically positions an infant at an incline of up to 30 degrees and usually has design elements such as a rounded sleep surface and plush side padding," the authors wrote.
The ACCC says it is progressing its safety review of inclined sleep products and its findings will be released in the middle of the year.
"The ACCC will take action promptly if we establish during the review that there is a serious safety risk with individual products sold in Australia ... which will then inform regulatory options," a spokesperson told 10 daily.
The review includes consideration of international regulation and changes, as well as engagement with industry and health experts.
In a statement, Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar told 10 daily the federal government was currently working with its state and territory counterparts to explore options to improve the effectiveness of the consumer product safety system.
"Should evidence of a serious safety risk be identified, the ACCC can recommend various actions including bans and or recalls of products under the Australian Consumer Law,” Sukkar said.
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