26 September 2023

New ACCC website so parents keep kids safe

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Parents and carers are to receive the latest, most reliable information on best practices to help keep their baby safe, as part of a new initiative from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Deputy Chair of the ACCC, Delia Rickard said the Commission’s new website Your First Steps provided safety advice on how parents and carers could protect their baby when playing, moving, sleeping, soothing, bathing and changing.

“We know that preparing for the arrival of a new baby is an exciting time and that parents and carers can find choosing baby products confusing,” Ms Rickard said.

“Among all of the joy and chaos that a new baby brings, it can be difficult to choose safe products and understand how to use these products safely.”

She said the website covered new and emerging product categories such as soothing items, to help parents know what to look out for when selecting and using products in the first six months of a child’s life.

Ms Rickard said it also provided important information about commonly used baby products that could be dangerous.

“We are increasingly concerned about a number of products marketed at soothing babies,” the Deputy Chair said.

“Weary parents can understandably see these products as lifesavers in the haze of new-parent exhaustion, but they are potentially deadly.”

She said data from the 20 years to 2021 revealed around two infant deaths each year were associated with inclined sleep products, while in the same period the death of around one child each year had been associated with other infant sleep aids.

Ms Rickard said Your First Steps pointed to the significant suffocation risks around sleeping babies on inclined products such as bouncers, rockers and swings.

“We don’t want to scare new parents, but by understanding the dangers of these products, parents can make more informed choices to help protect their baby,” she said.

“Boring is best when it comes to soothing and sleeping babies.”

Ms Rickard advised parents and carers to only ever place infants to sleep on a flat, firm surface and avoid decorations or any soft objects in or around their cot.

The ACCC’s website Your First Steps can be accessed at this PS News link.

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