Information for Nursery Retailers
Babies spend a lot of their time sleeping. But some sleeping environments are not safe and can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and sleeping accidents.
SIDS and Kids has been providing parents and other care-givers with information on how to sleep babies safely.
Distribution of safe sleeping information, along with discussion with parents, is an integral part of SIDS and Kids’ health promotion program to ensure everyone is aware of how to create a safe sleeping environment for their baby to reduce the risk of SIDS and sleeping accidents.
Retail stores and assistants can help too. Information on safe sleeping is most effective when consistent messages are given frequently by all who play a supportive role.
Retail stores and assistants can play an integral role in guiding parents and their nursery preparation and purchases ensuring all babies are slept safely in a safe sleeping environment night and day.
The accompanying illustrations show what constitutes a safe sleeping environment. Any display in a retail environment should follow these guidelines in order to avoid giving customers incorrect messages about what is acceptable in a sleeping environment.
This information is part of the SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping campaign, which has been developed in conjunction with researchers from Australasia and internationally. Central to the campaign are the six ways to sleep a baby safely:
1. Sleep baby on the back from birth, not on the tummy or side
2. Sleep baby with head and face uncovered
3. Keep baby smoke free before birth and after
4. Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day
5. Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult caregiver for the first six to twelve months
6. Breastfeed baby if you can
This information is featured in SIDS and Kids’ new ‘Sleep Safe, My Baby’ education suite. The suite includes Safe Sleeping brochures, information on tummy play, as well as posters and a free smart phone app downloadable from iTunes and Google Play.
You can download the suite from the SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping page at www.sidsandkids.org.nz or you can obtain copies from SIDS and Kids Office.
For even further information on how to sleep babies safely, download the SIDS and Kids Frequently Asked Questions from www.sidsandkids.org.nz. Or call SIDS and Kids on FreePhone 0800 164 455.
ALERT! How firm should the mattress be?
There is a new AS/NZS Voluntary Standard: Methods of testing infant products – Sleep surfaces – Test for firmness. Use a firm sleep surface that is compliant with this standard.
Dr Ron Somers from South Australia introduced in his research, ‘Safer Infant Sleep Surfaces: Defining the concept of “firm enough”: “The incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) may have improved greatly, but a proportion of infants continue to die as the result of suffocation in sleep-related circumstances. In the USA, for example, the infant mortality rate attributed to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed increased four fold between 1984 and 2004. The reason for the increase is unknown. Some obvious risk factors remain to be addressed, including cot firmness, or more generally the firmness of any product intended primarily for infant use.
“As at this writing there are no national or international guidelines available to help consumers and regulators distinguish between the firmer and less firm ends of the infant-product spectrum. An increasing number of innovative products are coming onto the Australian market, some of which are clearly hazardous. Whereas best practice in infant care specifies a “firm mattress”, there is presently no definition of what is firm enough.”
In 2013, an Australia/New Zealand Standard was published, the first such sleep surface firmness advice in the world. (AS/NZS 8811.1:2013. Methods of testing infant products – Part 1: Sleep surfaces – Test for firmness).
SIDS and Kids will be updating our information to incorporate mention of the voluntary standard and encourage parents and carers to ask before they purchase a mattress or product to sleep baby on, “Is this firm enough? Is this product compliant with the new Voluntary Standard AS/NZS 8811.1:2013?”
Alert: Dangers of Using Baby Bean Bags as Bedding
The rising popularity of baby bean bags has prompted the Queensland Office of Fair Trading to issue a warning about the potential risks associated with these products.
Office of Fair Trading product safety expert David Strachan said bean bags of any kind should never be used for a baby to sleep or nap in, as this could cause suffocation.
“The polystyrene beads that fill the bean bag can contour around a baby’s face, blocking the airways,” Mr Strachan said.
“Bean bags should only be used under the strictest supervision for babies under 12 months of age. Babies should only be placed to sleep or nap in a cot that meets Australian Standards.”
The warning is also supported by SIDS and Kids’ new information statement ‘Sleeping Position for Babies with Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux (GOR)’.
This information statement speaks to the evidence that:
- Babies with GOR should be placed to sleep on their back from birth on a firm, flat mattress that is not elevated.
- Elevating the sleeping surface for back sleeping babies does not reduce gastro oesophageal reflux and is not recommended
View the information statement ‘Sleeping Position for Babies with Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux (GOR)’ here.
For suppliers of bunk beds
Regarding bunk beds, the ACCC publication Supplier Guide – Bunk Beds provides the following advice:
‘Avoid bunk bed designs that appeal to younger children, who are most at risk of entrapment in and falls from bunk beds. Even if bunk beds with these designs aren’t used by younger children, their visual appeal could encourage children to explore or play on the bunk beds.
As a guide, avoid designs that would appeal to children aged six years and under.’
‘Retailers should ensure that the bunk beds they display are assembled complete with all required guard rails. This includes bunk beds that are placed against a wall, as children can be strangled if they slip between the upper bed and the wall. Guard rails help prevent this hazard.’
On Safe use:
‘As most deaths and injuries occur when children younger than nine years old use the upper part of bunk beds, you may wish to consider providing extra information or instructions that advise against this.
‘Also, as some injuries happen when bunk beds are near potential hazards like windows or ceiling fans, you may wish to consider providing extra information or instructions that advise safe bunk bed positioning and use.
You can also advise customers that it is important to assemble bunk beds with guard rails on all sides even if they are placed against the wall, as children can be strangled if they slip between the upper bed and the wall.’
For more information download Supplier Guide – Bunk Beds.
For suppliers of prams and strollers
The ACCC has identified several hazards associated with prams and strollers: serious injury or death, limb and finger injuries, falls, and strangulation or suffocation.
Suppliers, including retailers, of prams and strollers are legally responsible for ensuring new and second-hand prams and strollers meet the requirements under the mandatory safety standard for prams and strollers.
According the ACCC’s Supplier Guide – Prams and Strollers, retailers should:
- stipulate that any prams and stroller you order must meet the mandatory standard
- undertake visual checks of delivered stock where possible to check compliance with the requirements of the mandatory standard
- obtain and keep reliable written verification from independent sources that products have been tested to, and meet, the mandatory requirements.
For more information download Supplier Guide – Prams and Strollers.