23 March 2016
Consumer advocacy Consumer group CHOICE is calling for the cot mattress 'firmness test' to be made mandatory following three big name brand products failing the vital safety check designed to reduce the risk of suffocation.
Mattresses that are too soft are a risk factor in fatal sleep accidents and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). CHOICE tested 12 cot mattresses and found products from Childcare, Sealy and Love 'n' Care failed the firmness test designed to reduce the risk of a baby suffocating.
"It is gravely concerning that three of the biggest brands in the cot mattress market have failed a safety test that has been in place for three years," says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
The Australian Standard that sets out the test method for 'sleep surfaces – test for firmness' was introduced in 2013 and unlike the other safety requirements for cots around height and gaps around the mattress, it is not mandatory.
"With the mandatory Australian Standard for cots set to be reviewed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission this year, it's time to put our kids' safety first and mandate the 'firmness test'," says Mr Godfrey.
"We would also like to see mandatory test requirements extended to all cot mattresses. Currently, the Australian cot standard includes the mattress firmness test, but it's only a voluntary clause and only applies to mattresses supplied with the cot. Cot mattresses sold separately are not required to meet mandatory safety standards."
CHOICE says if you are concerned about a mattress you are currently using, you can conduct a simple home test that will give them a rough indication of the mattresses' firmness.
Further details on the test and how to conduct it can be found here: www.choice.com.au/mattressguide
Consumers can also join the CHOICE campaign calling on the ACCC to make the 'firmness test' mandatory this year as part of the cot standard review here: www.choice.com.au/mattresspetition
Cot mattress buying tips:
- Look for a new mattress that meets mandatory Australian Standard and the voluntary 'firmness test' standard: www.choice.com.au/mattressguide
- Always buy a new, correctly-fitting mattress
- An old mattress may create a SIDS or breathability risk if it's too soft
You can view CHOICE's cot mattresses test results here: www.choice.com.au/cotmattress