Australia's consumer safety watchdog CHOICE has issued an urgent warning to parents after lab tests revealed popular portable cots from major retailers could put the lives of infants at risk.
CHOICE's annual review uncovered serious flaws with six of the 11 cots it tested - including ones sold by Kmart, Target and Baby Bunting - which failed to meet key Australian safety standards.
The portable cots with serious safety failures:
Baby Bunting 4Baby Clouds 2 in 1 Portacot
Baby Bunting 4Baby Vacation Portacot
Kmart Anko 3 in 1 Portacot
Phil & Teds Traveller 2021
Star Kidz Vivo Super Light Travel Cot
Target Adventure V2 3 in 1 Portacot
CHOICE testing expert, Kim Gilmour said anyone who had already purchased these cots should stop using them immediately.
"The failure rate that we've seen in our latest round of portable cot testing is really concerning," she said.
"We know that parents expect better from brands that are sold by popular retailers like Target and Baby Bunting."
CHOICE found one of the biggest issues related to soft or poorly fitting mattresses.
"The most common safety issue we saw in our testing was a mattress that isn't firm enough, which is a factor linked to sudden unexpected death in infancy," Ms Gilmour said.
The testing also took into account breathable zones and entrapment hazards on the cots, as well as how sturdy and stable they were.
Calls for action
Ms Gilmour has called for the Government to strengthen product safety laws, slamming outdated mandatory standards for allowing unsafe products to remain on the market.
"Newer voluntary standards incorporate important safety factors like breathable zones, but they still haven't made it into law. While it's pleasing to see more manufacturers meeting them, it's still not mandatory to do so," she said.
"These safety failures are part of a broader problem around product safety protections. Governments often wait until tragedy strikes before they make safety standards mandatory. This reactive approach puts consumers at risk and is deeply inappropriate for products like portable cots."
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