Australia's weak product safety laws

Businesses are not legally required to ensure the products they sell are safe.

  • Mandatory safety standards only apply to a small number of products in Australia
  • Current mandatory standards are frighteningly outdated and newer voluntary standards are not being met
  • CHOICE is calling on the government to strengthen product safety laws

When you walk into a shop, do you assume the products on display are safe? According to CHOICE's 2018 Consumer Pulse survey1, 79% of Australians surveyed believe businesses are currently legally required to ensure the products they sell are safe. Unfortunately, Australians simply aren't afforded these protections, despite the fact almost all of those surveyed (97%)2 think it's important we are.

This means businesses are selling potentially dangerous products and are not required to take any action until after their products cause serious injuries. When this happens, as it recently did with dangerous Aldi pressure cookers and exploding Thermomixes, a business might not launch a voluntary recall until after becoming aware of a safety risk, and individuals can be left to fight for remedies themselves.

In this article:

Most products have no mandatory safety standard

Baby products with no mandatory standard

Did you know these baby products are not legally required to meet any mandatory safety standards?

  • Bassinets
  • Cot mattresses
  • High chairs
  • Change tables
  • Baby bottles and teats
  • Safety gates/barriers
  • Backyard play equipment
  • Baby carriers and slings
  • Play pens

There is currently no explicit market-wide requirement in the Australian Consumer Law for manufacturers or retailers to proactively ensure that the products they sell are safe. 

Some high-risk products, however, must meet mandatory safety standards in order to be sold in Australia, including aquatic toys, bicycles and some baby products. 

In theory this should mean consumers can buy these products without worrying about safety, but CHOICE tests of baby products reveal a different reality.

For example, when deciding to buy a stroller, cot or portable cot, you may have assumed all the products on offer were safe to use, choosing instead to base your purchase on factors like price, aesthetics and ease of use.

But despite having certification to say they pass legal requirements, a large number of the products we tested consistently fail to meet the mandatory standard, the voluntary standard, or both:

  • Portable cots (60 tested from 2011–2018): 98% or 59 failed.
  • Strollers (163 tested from 2012–2019): 83% or 136 failed.
  • Cots (173 tested from 2012–2019): 59% or 102 failed.

Our single pram and stroller reviews compare over 50 models to find out which ones meet the latest Australian safety standard.

What kind of failures?

Some of these tested products carry risks of strangulation, suffocation or finger, limb, neck and head entrapment, while others may allow a baby to fall out onto the ground or pierce their skin on sharp protruding edges. 

We categorise the failures as:

  • very minor (for example, warning labels not present)
  • minor (for example, sharp edges, finger entrapment hazards)
  • serious (for example, suffocation or strangulation hazards).

The sheer volume of these failures and the fact that almost all of these products are still being sold, shows that even for the most strictly regulated products, enforcement of safety standards isn't strong enough to keep Australians safe.

Strollers, cots and portacots that failed

Select the category heading below to see the models that have failed. 

It's important to note the year the model was tested in, as results from one year are not applicable to models with the same name which were manufactured in subsequent or previous years. 

Some models which have failed in the past now pass all safety requirements.

Brand Model Year tested
4Baby Jett 2016
Aussie Baby Baby Buggy SC114 2012
Baby Jogger City Mini Single 2013
Baby Jogger City Mini GT Single 2014
Baby Jogger City Mini 4 Wheel Single 2015
Baby Jogger City Mini GT 2017
Baby Jogger  City Select Lux  2018   
Baby Jogger City Tour 2018
Baby Jogger City Elite 2016
Baby Jogger  City Elite  2019   
Baby Solutions Layback Umbrella, QX-108 2012
Baby Solutions Cubby 2015
Babybee Comet 2016
Babywise 3 Wheel Stroller 2013
Babyzen Zen 2013
Babyzen Yoyo 2015
Bebe Care Edge 4 Lite 2014
Britax e-brake 2015
Britax Agile SP 2016
Bumprider  Connect 51284-77  2019   
Bugaboo Cameleon3 2013
Bugaboo Buffalo 2014
Bugaboo Bee3 2015
Bugaboo Bee5 2017
Chariot Cougar 2013
Chicco Echo, 10840 2012
Chicco Liteway Plus 2014
Chicco Liteway 2 2018
Chicco  Miinimo  2019   
Chicco Urban 2015
Childcare Discovery XLR 2013
Childcare Alto XLR 2013
Childcare Rapide 2014
Childcare Rialto 2015
Childcare Flip 2017
Childcare  Knox 015259-04  2019   
Combi Spazio 2013
Combi Miracle Turn, MT-450A 2012
Concord Neo 2016
Croozer Kid for 1 2013
Cybex Platinum Priam Frame & Trekking Wheels and Priam Lux Seat 2016
Dymples Envy 2014
Edwards & Co  Otto  2019   
GB Pockit AUS 2016
Greentom Upp Classic 2016
Hauck l'Coo Pluto 11 2014
iCandy Peach 2013
ICandy Strawberry 2 2016
Infa Secure Arlo 2015
Jane Epic 2015
Joie  Litetrax 4  2019   
Joie Mirus 2015
Jolly Jumper Elite 4-Wheeler Stroller 2013
Joolz Day 2013
Joolz Day 2014
Joolz  Geo²  2018   
Joolz Geo Earth 2015
Love N Care Mirage, BP2756 2012
Love N Care Alpha, BP9753P 2012
Love N Care Push-N-Go 2014
Love N Care Tango 2014
MacLaren Techno XLR 2013
MacLaren Triumph, WDN03042 2012
MacLaren BMW Buggy 2014
Mamas & Papas Urbo 2013
Mamas & Papas Armadillo 2015
Mamas and Papas Armadillo Flip XT 2016
Maxi-Cosi Elea 2013
Milano Tech Rider TS 2015
Mother's Choice Carter 2013
Mother's Choice Magnum, 012206 2012
Mother's Choice Maybel, 012304 2012
Mother's Choice Kismet 2016
Mountain Buggy Terrain 2013
Mountain Buggy Cosmopolitan 2013
Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle, U102 2012
Mountain Buggy Mini 2014
Mountain Buggy Nano 1.0 2015
Mountain Buggy Cosmopolitan 2.0 2017
Mountain Buggy Duet 3.0 (seat + joey) 2017
Mountain Buggy  MB Mini 3.1  2018   
Mountain Buggy Nano 2.0 2018
Mountain Buggy Swift 3.0 2016
Nuna  Mixx² ST-48-001CA  2018   
Nuna Pepp 2014
Out N About Nipper 360 Single 2015
Oyster Max 2 2017
Peg Perego Carrello Book Plus with Seggiolino Switch Sportivo 2013
Peg Perego Pliko Switch Compact 2012
Phil & Teds Verve 2.0 2013
Phil & Teds Sub4 2013
Phil & Teds Smart 2013
Phil & Teds Promenade 1.0, PR-5/100 2012
Phil & Teds Dot 2014
Phil & Teds Vibe 2015
Phil & Teds  Voyager 1.0  2018   
Phil & Teds Mod 2017
Phil & Teds Dash 5.0 2016
Phil and Teds Voyager 1.0 2016
Phil and Teds Sport 5.0 2016
Pouch  2 in 1  2019   
Quinny Zapp Xtra, 012256 2012
Redsbaby Jive 2016
Rozibaby 3/4 Wheel 2014
Safety 1st Wanderer X 2016
Silver Cross  Jet SX2133.EBAU  2019   
Silver Cross Pop Air, SX297 2012
Silver Cross Wayfarer 2014
Silver Cross Surf 2014
Silver Cross  Wave SX2073  2018   
Steelcraft Strider Compact 2013
Steelcraft Acclaim 2013
Steelcraft Strider Plus 2014
Steelcraft Terrain 2015
Steelcraft  Strider Compact Deluxe 36966  2019   
Steelcraft Strider Plus 2013
Steelcraft Acclaim, 36768 2012
Stokke Scoot 2013
Stokke Xplory 2016
Stokke  Xplory V6  2019   
Target Saturn 2015
Thule Urban Glide 1 2017
Uppababy Alta, 0131 2012
Uppababy Alta, 0131 2015
Uppababy  Minu 0818-MIN-AU  2019   
Uppababy  Vista 0318-VIS-AU  2018   
Valco Rebel Q Sport 2013
Valco Baby Matrix 2013
Valco Baby SNAP 4, N8958 2012
Valco Baby Zee 2014
Valco Baby Quad X 2015
Valco Baby Snap Ultra 2016
Vee Bee Lio 2018
Zuzu Genesis 3 Wheel Stroller 2013
Zuzu Genesis 2013
Zuzu Zippi 2014
Brand Model Year tested
All 4 Bubs Lunar 2016
All 4 Kids 3 In 1 2015
Arm's Reach Concepts Aurora Contempo 2015
Australian Nursery Venice 2015
Babies R Us Harper CR026OK 2017
Babies R Us by Delta Wave 3 in 1 2015
Baby 1st Homesread 2015
Baby Stepz Classic 2017
Baby Stepz Sleigh Cot 2016
Babyco Florida 2015
Babyhood Classic Sleigh 4 in 1 2015
Babyhood Georgia Sleigh Luxx 2017
Babyhood Ergonomic 2014
Babyhood Sandton Sleigh 2014
Babyhood Zimbali 2013
Babyhood Milano 2012
Babyhood Amani 2012
Babyhood  Riya  2018 
Bebe Care Nordica 2015
Bebe Care Oxford 2013
Bertini Miko cot 2013
Bloom Alma Papa Crib 2013
Boori Classic 2012
Boori  Daintree  2019 
Boori Pioneer 2012
Boori Country Newport 2013
Boori Country Paddington cot 3 in 1 2013
Boori Urbane Sunshine 2014
Boori Urbane Sleigh cot 3 in 1 2013
Boori Urbane Omni Transformer 2014
Boori Urbane Sleigh 3 in 1 2014
Boori Urbane Alice 2013
Boori Waratah Manor 3 in 1 2014
Bootiq Madison 2012
Cheekybub Scallywag 2012
Childcare Luna 2015
Childcare Sandford DL 2013
Childcare Harper 2013
Childcare Lullabye XT 2012
Chukles Cocoon Nest 2016
Chukles Cocoon Ritz 2015
DaVinci Jenny Lind Stationary Cot 2015
Disney Baby Disney Classic 2015
Ezy Machinery 3 in 1 Sleigh Cot 2015
Fantastic Furniture Twinkle 2015
Genesis Monterey 2017
Genesis Arizona Pine 141002-3 2016
Grotime Overture 30102 2016
Grotime Melody 30101 2017
Grotime Hannah 2015
Grotime Backsaver 2 2015
Grotime C50 Hadley 2013
Ikea Stuva 301.993.82 2016
Ikea Gonatt 2014
Ikea  Gulliver  2019 
Ikea  Sniglar  2019 
Ikea Sundvik 2019
Ikea Hensvik 2012
Incy Jemima 2013
Incy Interiors Reese 1523 2016
Incy Interiors Kip 2015
Incy Interiors  Teeny 1938 2018 
Kaylula Sova 4 in 1 2014
Kukuu Bird and Berry 2014
Leander Walnut 2012
Love n Care  Classic HK 200  2018 
Love N Care Sleigh II 2015
Love N Care Linda 2012
Love N Care Regal 2012
Love N Care Miami 2014
Mamas & Papas Ocean 2013
Mamas & Papas Orchard Sleigh 2012
Mocka Sonata 812583 2017
Mocka Amalfi 2015
Mocka Aspiring 2015
Mon Cheri Madeleine 2015
Mothercare Takeley 2012
Mothercare Summer Oak 2012
Mothers Choice Orlando 2012
Mothers Choice Melrose 2012
Pottery Barn Kids Aus Reese 2016
Pottery Barn Kids Aus Emerson 2015
Pottery Barn Kids Aus Blythe 2015
Quirky Bubba Contemporary Cot 2015
Regent Ascot 2012
Stokke Sleepi Bed 2019
Strom Skajen 2017
Sunbury The Manhattan SFHCR-AA 2016
Tasman Eco Vogue 2015
Tasman Eco Aria 2014
Tasman Eco Sleigh 2013
Tasman Eco Modena 2012
Tasman Elegance Verona 2012
Tasman Essentials Rascali E-101M 2016
Tasman Essentials Ascari 2015
Tikk Tokk Elm 2015
Touchwood Metro Bar 2016
Troll Nicole 2015
Troll Sun Cot Bed 2013
Brand Model Year tested
4Baby Liteway Travel Cot 2018
Aussie Baby CH-8103 2012
Baby Björn Travel Cot Light 2016
Baby Björn Travel Cot Light 2013
Baby Love Mascot BL3009 2016
Babyco Edinburgh Statesman 4006375-377 2016
Babyco Classic 4004695 2012
Babyhood Bambino Dormire 2011
Bambino Dormire 2 in 2 Porta Cot 2018
Babylove Mascot 2011
Babylove Cruiser Portable Cot 2014
Baby Solutions Travel Porta-Cot 2018 
Chicco Lullaby LX 2011
Chicco Lullaby LX 2012
Chicco Lullaby Magic 2014
Childcare Galaxy 2011
Childcare Orbit DL 2011
Childcare Deluxe 2011
Childcare Orbit XL 073210-218 2012
Childcare Peuter Luxe Travel Dome 2013
Childcare 4-in-1 Travel Cot 2014
Childcare Galaxy XL Travel Cot 2014
Childcare Trio 3 in 1 Travel Cot 2018
Dymples Portacot 2018
Elite Baby All in 1 Deluxe 2016
Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders 2011
Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo 074223-230 2012
Go Safe Urbane Portacot 2014
Gold Bug Pop-Up Pea Pod 2013
Ingenuity Smart and Simple Travel Cot 2018
Joie Excursion Change & Rock Travel Cot 2018
Joie Illusion 2016
Jolly Jumper Roma TB-001 2012
Love N Care Deluxe Playland 2011
Love N Care 3 in 1 Sleep N Go BP 993CL 2012
Love N Care Playland Travel Cot 2014
Love N Care Playland Travel Cot 2018
Lullaboo Port A Cot 2014
Mother's Choice Kingdom Deluxe LY504 2012
Mother's Choice Baby Cino LY504 2012
Mother's Choice Happy Pears 015615 2016
Nuna Sena 2014
Phil & Teds Traveller 2013
Phil & Teds Traveller T3 2016
Phil & Teds Traveller 4 2018
Roger Armstrong Sleep Easy SEEMPE ON 2012
Roger Armstrong Sleep Easy Porta-Cot SEE001 2014
Steelcraft Sonnet 2011
Steelcraft Eclipse 4 in 1 Portable cot 2014
Steelcraft Siesta 2 in 1 Portable Cot 2014
Steelcraft 4 in 1 34442-Y 2016
Steelcraft Sonnet 32439 2016
Steelcraft Snooze-n-Play Portable Cot 2018
Target Holiday Portacot 2018
Valco Zephyr Portacot 2014
Vee Bee Amado Travel & Play Cot 2018
Vee Bee Commuter Cot Plus 2011
Vee Bee Commuter Plus N8947 2012
Vee Bee The Sierra N9338 2016

Ten out of 12 portacots tested by CHOICE in May 2018 failed to meet mandatory Australian safety standards, posing suffocation and injury risks to babies.

Mandatory standards out of date

Current mandatory standards for strollers and portable cots are based on documents written almost two decades ago, but since then we've learned a lot about what makes a product safe. While newer standards were written for strollers and portable cots in 2013 and 2010 respectively, they haven't become law. Instead, they're used as voluntary standards which manufacturers are encouraged to adhere but are not obliged to do so. 

We've noticed our governments tend to wait until one of these products causes serious injury or death before making the new standard mandatory, even when the newer standard may contain crucial safety provisions. This reactive approach is also inherent in general product safety laws, which allow businesses to react to product safety problems after they happen, rather than actively trying to prevent them from occurring. 

Ultimately the result for both regulated and non-regulated products is that consumers have to wait until after tragedy strikes for government to take action and for businesses to take responsibility. 

What we're doing

The Australian government will be consulting on options to strengthen product safety laws this year. We're calling for the introduction of a legal obligation on businesses to ensure their products are safe before being offered for sale. This would bring us in line with similar legal requirements in the EU, Canada and the UK.

We want the government to:

  • make the newest standards mandatory 
  • police violations more vigilantly
  • introduce a new section on product safety into the Australian Consumer Law so that all products will be subject to safety requirements.

Join our campaign to strengthen Australian product safety laws:

Portable cots: an accident waiting to happen

portable cot

The current mandatory standard for portable cots ensures that a cot is stable and doesn't have unsafe gaps that could trap a child's head or limbs. But it's missing one of the most important provisions for infant safety: breathability. 

The newer voluntary standard requires that all the areas that could come into contact with the baby's airways be made of breathable material to reduce the risk of infant suffocation, but our latest portable cot test found that 11 out of 12 models carry a suffocation hazard of some sort, and three models have insufficient breathable zones. This is why we always test to the newest voluntary standard and why we believe our product safety laws need strengthening.

1 CHOICE Consumer Pulse January 2018 is based on a survey of 1029 Australian households. 

2 "Total important" is the total of "Quite important" and "Very important" responses, excluding "Don't know".

Most portacots have multiple safety failures. But if you still need to buy one, our portable cot reviews reveal which models have passed our key safety tests.

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