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Portacots put kids at risk

CHOICE gives unsafe portable cots a Shonky for failing safety tests

4 October 2018


CHOICE has awarded portacots a Shonky after almost all of the cribs examined failed CHOICE's key safety tests.

"Since 2011 we've looked at 60 different portacots, and worryingly the vast majority failed to meet our minimum safety standards," says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.

"Out of the 12 newer models of cot we recently reviewed only two passed our major safety tests, with the others posing serious safety hazards. We've found mattresses that aren't firm enough to provide a safe sleep surface, and gaps around the side that could trap a child's head.

"It's unacceptable that there are so many of these products on the market putting children's lives at risk.

"If a portacot can pose a suffocation risk to a baby and still meet the legal mandatory requirements, these laws need to change.

"CHOICE is calling on the Federal Government to tighten the mandatory safety standards for cots, and make it illegal to sell unsafe products in Australia.

"Most Australians are surprised to learn that businesses don't have to make sure the products they sell are safe. We need a General Safety Provision in Australia. It's simply ridiculous that companies can flood our markets with dangerous goods and are only penalised after someone is hurt.

"Right now, parents can't trust that manufacturers and retailers have sold them a portacot that will keep their child safe. If you have to use a portacot, look for one with a firm, snug-fitting mattress, that has breathable mesh material on all sides.

"Parents can check the full results of CHOICE's safety testing for free at choice.com.au. While we don't recommend any portacots, those scoring 60% and above only have minor safety failures that won't endanger a child's life."

Only one company, Big W, issued a recall of its Dymples portacot after it failed the CHOICE safety tests.

"We'd like to see the portacot manufacturers we failed, including 4baby (Baby Bunting), Babyco, Babyhood, Baby Bjorn, Baby Solutions (Kmart), Childcare, Elite Baby, Joie, Love N Care, Phil&Teds, Steelcraft, Target and Vee Bee, follow the lead of Big W and pull their shonky products off the shelves," Mr Kirkland says.

Tips for parents:

  • If you need to use a portacot check that the mattress is firm enough, fits snugly and has no gaps around the side.
  • Make sure each side is made from breathable mesh material that extends to the floor of the cot.
  • Check that it is certified to the Australian/New Zealand Standard, AS/NZS 2195 (look for the 2010 version).
  • Don't use for children weighing more than 15kg.

Other 2018 Shonky Award winners include:

  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Nutri-Grain
  • Magnetic therapy devices
  • Bioglan
  • KitchenAid
  • Commonwealth Bank

Access the full report on the 2018 Shonky winners at shonkys.com.au

For more details on portacots, go to our portable cot buying guide.

For more details on our campaign for better product safety go to www.choice.com.au/productsafety

Media contact: Jonathan Brown 0430 172 669