01.Choking hazard detection tool
The ACCC has released a free safety tool to help parents determine choking hazards for babies and toddlers.
The do-it-yourself 'Choke Check' tool can be printed out and made at home, and can be used to help detect risky objects. It’s cylinder-shaped and works by mimicking the size and shape of a child’s throat (up to the age of 36 months). CHOICE uses a similar (but custom-made) tool to test that children's toys comply with the Australian safety standard.
Delia Rickard, ACCC deputy chair, warns: "Children up to 36 months old are especially vulnerable to choking and ingestion hazards from a range of common objects found in and outside the home."
"They naturally explore things by putting them in their mouths - as their coughing reflexes are underdeveloped, objects can get easily lodged in their throat and choke or suffocate them. If swallowed, these objects can cause internal blockages.
"If an object fits completely inside the cylinder, it could get stuck down a curious baby’s throat or be swallowed, so keep it out of their reach," Rickard said.
The ACCC urges parents to be especially vigilant about toys, as small parts can easily detach and present a choking risk, and to keep in mind that some toys designed for older children may actually pose a choking risk for babies and toddlers.