Maintaining a safe and hazard-free environment for our children is at the top of most parents lists. It seems keeping a beady eye out for choking hazards, BPA plastics and other toxic materials and paint is not enough.

    Despite hundred of babies being injured and even killed each year, dangerous baby products are still freely available for sale.

Here are five baby products you should avoid to keep your baby safe.

  1. Crib Tents

Tots in MindThe logic behind crib tents seem sound enough. A breathable canopy is placed over the crib to stop toddlers from climbing out and then falling to the floor. Cat owners also buy them to prevent their furry friends from smothering sleeping babies.

However, babies have become tangled in the tent netting and choking to death.

Other serious injuries have also occurred due to the tents collapsing on top of infants. Several children have been strangled to death. Recently, one poor infant suffered serious brain damage after being caught between the rods and mesh of the tent.

What Has Been Done:

Some models of crib tents have already been recalled. 20,000 units manufactured by “Tots in Mind” were recalled in 2010 following a toddler fatality.

Following the deaths, several investigations have been launched, but crib tents are still on the market.

Safer Alternatives:

Not using crib tents (or attaching anything to a crib) is always recommended by the American Association of Paediatrics. If your toddler is climbing out of the crib, it could well be time to move them to a toddler bed.

Cats should also be kept out of nurseries. This makes things much more hygienic and safer for your baby. If this is a problem, there are ultrasonic cat deterrents you can also buy.

2. Changing Tables

Another product that seems a good idea is a baby changing table. A flat surface that is easy to clean makes changing a squirming baby easier.

Sadly, the reality is that hundreds of babies are injured each year falling from changing tables. This frequently results in fractured skulls and even death.

Just this week, a baby in Des Moines, Iowa died when she rolled over and suffocated on the table. The mother is being charged with child endangerment after she left the room.
What Has Been Done:

Last September, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) met to try and formulate stricter safety standards for baby changing tables. As of right now, even a voluntary safety standard for manufacturers is not in force. Which just seems nuts.

Safer alternatives:

Changing tables with four sides are safer for babies. Some also dip in the middle to make the sides higher and prevent falling. You can also buy ones with safety harnesses to further secure your baby.

As with a lot of similar baby products, you should never leave your baby unattended at any time.

  1.  Infant Sling Carriers
    If you’re like me, you may have wondered why brands like “Ergo” and “Baby Bjorn” get away with charging over $100 for a baby carrier.

After some research into these products, I saw that it’s because some of the cheaper ones drop babies and can also cause a suffocation hazard!

From 2003 – 2016 there were 159 reported incidents with 17 infants dying due to baby slings.

The deaths were caused by newborns suffocating when pressed in close to their mother. It only takes a minute or two for them to suffocate and they can not even cry for help.

What Has Been Done:

Just this week, the US CPSC has approved a new federal safety standard for sling carriers. The standard will be mandatory.

The standard includes provisions such as ensuring baby carriers can safely carry three times the manufacturer’s stated weight, pictures for proper carrying positions and structural integrity tests.

Safer Alternatives:

Well, a safer alternative is always a stroller. But if you’re like me, you’ll find crowded places and lots of steps make strollers difficult.

Well-known brands like Baby Bjorn and Ergo as we mentioned do perform a lot of research on their carriers. It seems this is one area where paying a bit extra will result in peace-of-mind.

4. Baby Walkers

ban baby walkersCanada is setting the standards when it comes to baby walkers.

After causing hundreds of injuries and quite a few baby fatalities, they were completely banned in 2004. Anybody caught selling them can be fined $100,000 and face 6-months in jail.

Meanwhile, in the USA they are still widely available. And yes, you guessed it – injuring babies. In 2014 (the most recent statistics I could find) 2,900 children visited emergency rooms as a result of baby walkers.

Most of the injuries are caused by children getting into kitchens and grabbing hazardous items such as boiling water, knives, floor fans and chemicals.

Several deaths and severe injuries were also recorded where the babies rolled down flights of stairs and fractured their skulls. In Europe, they estimated that 90% of the injuries caused were to a baby’s head. And baby walkers caused more accidents than any other baby product.

Yet on Amazon.com, there are still pages after pages of baby walkers listed.

What Has Been Done:

Canada has banned them completely. America should really follow suit.

Meanwhile, there is a mandatory standard that is supposed to make them wider to not fit through doors. This does not stop them from crashing into furniture and quickly grabbing things parents thought were far enough away!

Safer Alternatives:

After the dangers of baby walkers hit the press, “Exersaucers” were marketed to replace them. These products have no wheels, but your baby can bounce, spin and move around them. For now, it seems a much safer alternative.

 

  1. Baby Bath Seats / Chairs Amazingly, baby bath seats have been on the market since 1981. Dozens of babies have died as a result of using them. Yet, it wasn’t until 2010 mandatory Safety Standard was brought out to regulate bath seats.

Recalled Lexibook bath seatEven after bath seats became regulated, 14 baby deaths were associated with them between 2010 and 2012 alone.

The problems arise due to the leg holes being too wide or the suction cups failing. In October of last year, the Lexibook Baby Bath Seat was recalled. It failed safety tests for stability and for tipping over in the bath. Baby and all!

Why have they lasted so long? Well, it appears that parents had a false sense of security and left the bathroom to answer the phone or take care of a quick chore. So the baby companies claimed it was the parent’s fault and not the product.

What Has Been Done:

Many of these seats have either been recalled or are no longer for sale. In addition to the mandatory safety standard of 2010, the CPSC is calling for a total ban. Let’s hope it’s successful!

Safer Alternatives:

Some people have suggested the smaller inflatable bath tubs that go in regular tubs to be a safer product. However, a lot of injuries have also been associated with these, too.

It seems that we should take care of baby baths the old fashioned way – with our own two hands.

Author:

Sandy King is a mother of two and author of kidsaversnetwork.com, where she shares parenting news, advice and reviews for all parents and those expecting!

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