Is it safe? What to look out for when buying children's product
Shopping for your children can be a fun yet daunting affair. The sheer number of children products that you are expected to buy in your baby’s first year alone can be overwhelming. On top of that, there are many purchasing considerations for each product - design, quality, functionality and affordability.
Despite the many considerations, one thing you should never lose sight of is the safety of the product. A seemingly harmless product can easily become a hidden danger if parents overlook the safety considerations before purchasing. To help create a happy and hazard-free environment for your kids, we’ve put together a guide on what to look out for before and after purchasing children products.
BEFORE YOUR PURCHASE
TIP #1: CHECK IF THE PRODUCT HAS BEEN TESTED FOR SAFETY
We must always take ownership of the safety of our children by first checking if the product has undergone safety testing. Safety testing subject products to a set of requirements that are meant to address hazards such as strangulation, choking, entrapment, laceration etc
Parents are advised to:
Buy from reputable brands and sellers and check with the sellers that the product has met relevant safety standard
Too good to be true? Avoid it if you can.
More parents are turning to e-commerce to source for children products, given its convenience and attractive price point. But have you ever wondered if the deal is indeed too good to be true? Errant manufacturers may cut costs by skipping the safety test as additional costs are incurred when sending products for safety testing. Ensure that the cost-savings you have gotten from the deals do not compromise on safety of the product. Consult the seller if you are unsure if the product has gone through a safety test.
TIP #2: CHECK IF PRODUCT IS SUITABLE FOR CHILD
Buying products for your child requires plenty of decisions and planning before you find something suitable and we can say that it is never easy. Deciding on what is suitable for your children may be challenging, especially for first time parents.
We have come up with a list to note when buying children products to ensure that you got the right products for your children.
Read product information and labels for:
Age-appropriateness of product
Check the label for the age recommendation of the product. Some products come with small detachable parts, which are not suitable for children under 3 years old as it could pose choking hazards. Avoid buying products with loose strings or cords attached to it as it may pose a strangulation risk.
When sourcing for children products, always check the guidelines on the recommended size and weight to ensure that the product is suitable for your children to protect against injuries.
For children products that requires self-assembly, always assemble it carefully by following the manufacturer’s instructions. When in doubt, call the manufacturer or retailers for clarifications.
Proper product usage
Always adhere to the instructions stated and do not use the product for purposes that it is not intended for.
Products may show signs of deterioration overtime. Stop using products when signs of wear and tear such as cracks are observed on products.
You can play an active role in ensuring the safety of your children by always be on a look out and supervise your children during use.
Always assess if you need to keep a product out of the reach of young children
Unlike brick and mortar stores, parents purchasing from e-commerce platforms are unable to visually inspect the products and assess if it’s suitable for your children. Always check with the seller if such information is not provided in the product listing.
TIP #3: CHECK IF PRODUCT HAS BEEN RECALLED OVERSEAS
A product recall is a request by the manufacturer to return the product after the discovery of safety issues or product defects. Always check if there were any overseas recall or do a quick search online to see if there were any recent safety notices. Ensure the product you are buying is not a recalled item.
AFTER YOUR PURCHASE
Before you get all excited about letting your children use the products you’ve bought, parents and caregivers should always refer to the user manual and follow these manuals to make sure that they are using products safely. User manuals provide important information on proper guidelines for installation, maintenance and safe usage of the product, which may save your children from unnecessary safety risks and prevent product damage.
We’ve put together a list of popular sleep, outdoor, toys and childcare articles products that most parents get and what they need to look out for before purchasing and when using the products.
SLEEP CATEGORY- COTS
What to look out for:
For Cots with adjustable raised positions:
Ensure that there is a minimum depth of 30cm from the bed base to the cot rail at all times
For Cots with fixed base positions:
Look for a minimum depth of 60cm from the bed base to the cot rail to prevent baby from climbing over
Avoid raised corner posts or cut-outs as babies’ clothes may get caught on them
Make sure that cots with casters always comes with locking brakes
Make sure slats are not loose and are spaced between 4.5-6.5cm to prevent babies from getting stuck.
While in use:
Place the baby cot away from the curtains and window blinds keeping them away from your baby’s reach
Remove stuffed toys or cushions to reduce the risk of suffocation
Use a firm, snugly fitting mattress to prevent babies from getting trapped
OUTDOOR CATEGORY- STROLLERS
What to look out for:
Choose a stroller that can recline over 150°. They provide a comfortable lying position for newborns who cannot hold their heads upright
Look for one with a 2-step locking system or multi-lock system. They prevent accidental collapsing of the stroller
Ensure that stroller is suitable for the age and weight of your child
Apply the brakes and push the stroller. Make sure the wheel does not slip
While in use:
Avoid hanging heavy items on the handlebar to prevent tip-overs
Prevent strangulation by tying up or cutting excess length from the harness strap
Make sure your children cannot slip through the harness after it is secured
Make sure the harness cannot be easily unbuckled by children
TOYS AND CHILDCARE ARTICLES CATEGORY- Pacifiers, teethers and rattles
What to look out for:
Ensure that a pacifier’s protective shield has ventilation holes and is large enough so that it cannot fit inside your baby’s mouth
Opt for teethers that are BPA free
Ensure that the sound produced by rattles are not too loud for your children.
Ensure that pacifiers, teethers or rattles do not have detachable small parts as it could pose a choking hazard.
Ensure that pacifiers, teethers or rattles are not second-hand. These toys should be bought from the store new and rinsed well before giving it to your baby
While in use:
Sterilize the pacifier by soaking it in boiling water for 5 minutes before the first use. Make sure it’s completely cooled down before giving it to your baby. Keep it clean by washing it thoroughly after each use.
Remove pacifiers, teethers or rattles and other toys from baby’s crib when your baby is sleeping or unattended
Check pacifier frequently for wear and tear. Stop using worn out or damaged pacifiers.
Replace the pacifier between one and two months of use, for safety and hygiene purposes.
Do not string a pacifier or any other item around your baby’s neck (You may use clips or short strings that are available where you buy pacifiers)
Never let your baby or child chew on a pacifier as it may break into smaller parts and cause choking.
You have a role to play in ensuring safety of your children
Buying children products is never easy and although many parents would find it tedious to choose the right products for your kids – it will all be worth it in the end. To make things easy before buying any children product, you may start by simply do a quick check with these three safety tips:
Aside from these three safety tips, taking specific safety measures around popular sleep, outdoor, toy and childcare articles can be useful in every household. it is always good to go the extra mile for your child’s safety by ensuring that they are always under proper supervision when handling products.