While there are plenty of items parents need in order to make life easier and safer for children, there are also some products designed for kids and babies that can pose a real risk.
CHOICE magazine has released a list of products they believe are a safety hazard and are unnecessary for children’s development.
The consumer advocacy group has listed the top 10 items they believe you shouldn’t have in your home if you have children.
Manufacturers will tell you baby walkers are designed to help young ones begin to walk faster by supporting them on what CHOICE describes as a basic “frame on wheels”.
CHOICE said after a series of studies in the 1980s and 1990s uncovered serious risks to children who used walkers, mandatory safety standards came into effect in 2013, however considering there is no evidence the walkers can help kids walk faster, CHOICE “strongly discourages” the sale and use of baby walkers.
Instead the group suggests toys without wheels such as playpens and play tables.
Baby bath aids
CHOICE magazine believes bath aids that allow a parent or caregiver to have two free hands while bathing children give the illusion of security around water.
“Drowning can occur when the bath seat tips over, the child slips or rolls off, or the child becomes trapped in the seat openings when left unsupervised. It can happen quickly and even if the water is only a few centimetres deep,” CHOICE explains.
The main contributor to drowning is leaving children unsupervised and anything that distracts a person bathing a child, for even a moment, is not worth having.
The small polystyrene beads contained in bean bags are a major choking hazard for babies and young children.
CHOICE warns they are also a suffocation risk.
Any toys or products that contain these beads should not be easy accessible to small hands who can unzip the items and access the beads.
Cot frills, bumpers, pillows or quilts
While a pretty cot coordinated with matching accessories may look good in catalogues, they can pose a suffocation risk to all babies.
To keep your baby as safe as possible SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) research indicates the safest cot for a baby is a simple one - made up from a firm mattress, a securely fitted sheet and blanket, and nothing else.
While CHOICE is all for teaching your children how to keep their room tidy, there have been injuries and deaths recorded in Australia from toy box lids falling onto children’s heads or necks.
The group also warn children up to two years old can become trapped inside boxes.
While the safest option is to remove the lid all together, CHOICE also suggests looking for stoppers on the inside of the lid that will leave a gap when closed or choosing a lightweight plastic crate with ventilation holes that is safer than a heavy traditional toy box.
According to the consumer advocacy group, in 2004 17 children in Western Australia alone required hospital treatment after being injured from projectile toys.
CHOICE cautions that particularly those with suction darts in toy guns can be a choking hazard.
These contraptions hang from a door frame or tripod and support a baby that isn’t able to stand yet.
And while babies can look adorable and squeal with delight as they bounce up and down, clamps can break causing the baby to fall and other children may cause harm by pushing the baby into a doorway.
Any object small enough to fit into a film canister
The size of a 35mm film canister or the space made by putting your first finger to your thumb is roughly the size of a young child’s airway.
So CHOICE warns if an object can fit through there, it can pose a choking hazard to littles ones who love to explore everything and anything by putting it directly into their mouth.
Think marbles, board game parts, toy darts, loose buttons, batteries and small construction blocks - keep them away from little ones.
If you are considering purchasing a trampoline for your kids CHOICE recommends making sure it follows the Australian Standard, which is currently only voluntary but could save your child from serious injury.
Most injuries happen when children fall off or hit the sides, but there is also a risk for kids who crawl under trampolines and can get hit by others bouncing on top.
And be prepared to keep up with inspections and maintenance to make sure the trampoline remains as safe as possible for your family.
If you are short on space a bunk bed is a great way to create more room but CHOICE cautions there significant injury rates due to falls, or children jumping from the top bunk during play.
The consumer advocacy group thinks you’re better off having a more crowded bedroom and doing away with bunk beds but if you insist on a bunk, it’s recommended guard rails be permanently attached to the top bunk.
And for children under the age of nine, CHOICE doesn’t recommend bunk beds at all.
While CHOICE doesn’t feel these products are dangerous to your children, they do suggest that you may not even need them.
With a recent boom in products tailored to babies and toddlers there are many that CHOICE has found to be simply unnecessary.
For almost every adult product there's a 'baby' or 'child' version sitting next to it on the shelf, often with a higher price tag than the grown-ups' version, CHOICE reports.
CHOICE said feel free to ignore baby specific moisturisers and body wash, shampoos, sunscreen, milk, juice and snacks.
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