Slings

Baby Slings FACT SHEET

Did You Know?

  • Using a baby sling is a convenient way of carrying a baby when out and about. As long as you know how to position the baby in the safest way.

How to Buy Safely

  • Choose a sling that is the right one for your baby’s size and ensure it keeps your baby’s head in an upright position so it supports your baby’s head.
  • There is currently no specific safety standard for baby slings, although they are still required by law to be safe

How To Set Up Safely

  • The baby should be upright and not in the C position – always remember the T.I.C.K.S principle.

T – tight. This will mean your baby is supported and will be more comfortable for you. Any slack could mean your baby slumps and their airway can become restricted.

I – in view at all times. You should always be able to see your baby at all times. The fabric should not cover their face at all.

Cclose enough to kiss. When using a sling, your baby should be close enough for you to kiss their head. Their head should be as close to your chin as possible, and comfortable, for you.

Kkeep chin off the baby’s chest. A baby should never have their chin on their chest or be curled up as this can restrict their ability to breathe. Always ensure there is at least a finger’s width between your baby’s chin and their chest when using a sling.

Ssupported back. Always make sure the sling supports their back, keeps them straight, and their tummy and chest should be against you. Again, if they are too loosely sat in the sling they can slump forward and restrict breathing.

How To Use Safely

  • It is important to ensure the baby is positioned correctly so that they can breathe freely.  Use the T.I.C.K.S principle, detailed above.
  • It is also important that they are not in a curled position pushing the chin down to the chest as this can restrict their ability to breathe. 

Pushchairs

 

Pushchair FACT SHEET

Did You Know?

  • A baby cannot safely sit up, unaided, until at least 6 months of age.
  • Consider the cost implications of either buying an age restricted pushchair or spending money on one that can cater for your baby’s growth and development.

How To Buy Safely

  • When thinking of buying a pushchair, consider what your priorities are. Is it that the product must be easy to use that is important to you, or is its weight and ease to to fit in the car? Is it sturdy enough to not tip over?
  • Look for the safety standard marked on the product, the most recent of which is BS EN 1888:2012. Older second hand pushchairs may instead be marked BS 7409 or BS EN 1888:2003. Many pushchairs will also come with the message ‘warning – a child’s safety is your responsibility’. This is usually on the frame or seat covering.
  • Check the parking brake works both forwards and backwards.
  • Make sure there are two safety locks to stop it from folding up whilst the baby is in the pushchair. Don’t be afraid to try before you buy and make sure you are happy with using it before you do, Ensure the pushchair is stable in all directions.
  • It is best for the pushchair to have a 5-point safety harnesses to stop your baby from sliding out. Many old pushchairs only have 3 point harnesses.
  • If you are purchasing a second hand/used product, ask questions about its history, who it was used for, their age, the age of the product and most importantly – look for the safety marks listed above and signs of any damage it may have suffered. Make sure the harness is not frayed or damaged, the buckle is secure and easy to use and the wheels aren’t too heavily worn.
  • If you are buying online check the seller’s rating or reviews and their location. Goods sold online may well be cheaper but beware of inferior or even fake products. The picture and description may say it’s a brand you recognise, but what is delivered could be something else. Make sure the goods you receive match what was advertised online – if they don’t, contact the seller and the website. Sites like eBay have teams dedicated to resolving cases where the sent item doesn’t match what was advertised.  The most important thing is to make sure your purchase doesn’t put your child at risk!

How To Set Up Safely

  • When making adjustments to the pushchair keep your child well away from any moving parts – the temptation for them to put a finger in the chair may be too much for them to resist and a crush or jam may occur, causing an injury to your child.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance and check the brakes and harness regularly.

How To Use Safely

  • Keep your child harnessed when they are in the pushchair.
  • Avoid overloading the pushchair with bags particularly if it is not designed for this purpose – pushchair handles are generally not good places to hang your shopping!  A push chair can easily become overloaded and tip, putting your child at immediate risk.
  • Avoid extra passengers hitching a ride too, unless you have a manufacturer’s approved clip-on board for your pushchair.
  • Don’t stick your pushchair into the road whilst waiting to cross.

Walkers

Baby Walkers FACT SHEET

Did You Know?

  • There is no evidence that baby walkers help your baby to walk earlier. However there are a high number of injuries associated with their use as they allow young children to move faster and get to places they might not reach on their own.
  • Older baby walkers were not designed to meet current safety standards and can tip over which is something to keep in mind if buying second hand or used goods.
  • Child health experts do not recommend the use of baby walkers.

How To Buy Safely

  • We do not recommend buying or using a baby walker due to the risk of injury they pose to children. If you do decide to purchase a baby walker you should check it complies with the safety standard EN 1273:2005. This will be marked on the product together with the manufacturer, distributor or retailer’s name or trademark.
  • Check that the baby walker is too wide to fit through doorways to prevent your baby roaming from room to room. It should also have a gripping mechanism to stop it at the edge of a step.
  • If you are purchasing a second hand/used product, ask questions about its history, who it was used for, their age, the age of the product and most importantly – look for the safety marks listed above.
  • If you are buying online check the seller’s rating or reviews and their location. Goods sold online may well be cheaper but beware of inferior or even fake products. The picture and description may say it’s a brand you recognise, but what is delivered could be something else. Make sure the goods you receive match what was advertised online – if they don’t contact the website. Sites like eBay have teams dedicated to resolving cases where the sent item doesn’t match what was advertised. The most important thing is to make sure your purchase doesn’t put the child at risk!

How To Set Up Safely

  • Read the instructions carefully and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

How To Use Safely

  • Check the area that you are going to use it in and restrict access to any potential hazards such as steps or stairs, appliance cords, hot drinks or hot surfaces.
  • Remember never to leave your baby unattended while they use a baby walker.

High Chairs

High Chairs, and Chair/Table Mounted Seats FACT SHEET 

Did You Know

  • These items are designed to be used by babies and toddlers who can sit unaided. Generally speaking, they are designed for use by children who weigh less than 15kg or are aged under 36-months.
  • A five point harness is the safest method for securing the child in – one strap between their legs and two on either side.

How to Buy Safely

  • When thinking of buying one of these items, consider what your priorities are. If you’re buying a high chair check it has a wide base for stability and that any tray locks securely and cannot be removed by your child. If you buy a folding chair make sure it has an effective locking device. Look for chair designs with a post between where your child’s legs will go; this will help prevent them slipping down and getting trapped under the tray.
  • High chairs should meet the requirements of safety standard BS EN 14988:2017. Check your chair is marked with the number of this standard and the name or trademark of the manufacturer, distributor or retailer.
  • If you are purchasing a second hand/used product, ask questions about its history, who it was used for, their age, the age of the product and most importantly – look for the safety marks listed above and signs of any damage.
  • If you are buying online check the sellers rating or reviews and their location. Goods sold online may well be cheaper but beware of inferior or even fake products. The picture and description may say it’s a brand you recognise, but what is delivered could be something else. Make sure the goods you receive match what was advertised online – if they don’t contact the seller and the website. Sites like eBay have teams dedicated to resolving cases where the sent item doesn’t match what was advertised. The most important thing is to make sure your purchase doesn’t put your child at risk!

How To Set-Up Safely

  • A brand new item will come with instructions for its use. Try to follow the steps as set out. If you are having difficulty, call the manufacturer for advice, a helpline number may be found in the instructions or online.
  • If you have purchased a used/second hand item the instructions may not be present. Try searching online for the manufacturer as many set-up guides are available to download for free. Try calling the manufacturer directly.
  • Avoid placing the high chair next to a table, counter, cooker or anywhere else where the child may be able to grab items or use their legs to push against (i.e. a wall).
  • Also, make sure the floor surface is not slippery or uneven.
  • When it’s not in use, it should be stored out of reach of children, so they do not try to climb into it. A folded away high chair is also the type of product where small fingers can be crushed or trapped.
  • When using a chair or table mounted seat ensure it is securely attached and check this each time you use it.

How To Use Safely

  • Before feeding your child, make sure you have everything you are going to need within easy reach – never leave your child unattended in a highchair or equivalent.
  • Always use the harness and make sure all belts and straps are adjusted to the size of your child. Never rely on the feeding tray alone to keep your baby in.
  • When they are nearing the upper age limit of the product, you may find your child is able to rock in the seat which could lead to the high chair falling over. It is better to graduate to a chair at this time and continue with adult supervision.

Changing tables

Baby Changers FACT SHEET

Did You Know?

  • As stated on the Falls page, it is best practice to change your baby using a changing mat on the floor so there is nowhere for them to fall.
  • Using a changing mat on a bed, changing table or any other raised surface is not recommended. Injuries often occur when a baby falls from a height to the floor when the adult has moved away for a few seconds. Adult supervision at all times is vital.

How To Buy Safely

  • When thinking of buying one of these items, consider what your priorities are. Is it that the product must be easy to clean or is it more important that it provides storage? Remember to check the height of the changer as you need to be comfortable using it.
  • If you do decide to use a baby changer, make sure it is marked with the safety standard number BS EN 12221-1:2008 +A1:2013, together with the name or trademark of the manufacturer, distributor or retailer.
  • If you are buying online, check the seller’s rating or reviews and their location. Goods sold online may well be cheaper but beware of inferior or even fake products. The picture and description may say it’s a brand you recognise, but what is delivered could be something else. Make sure the goods you receive match what was advertised online – if they don’t, contact the website. Sites like eBay have teams dedicated to resolving cases where the sent item doesn’t match what was advertised. The most important thing is to make sure your purchase doesn’t put your child at risk!

How To Set Up Safely

  • Make sure you have everything you need before you start as you do not want to leave your baby unattended.
  • Make sure there are no items in the baby’s reach that could pose a risk – like nappy sacks, plastic bags or polythene strips from the nappy.

How To Use Safely

  • A brand new item should come with instructions to help you set up and use the product safely. If this is missing, or you are having difficulty assembling the item, contact the retailer or manufacturer.
  • If you have purchased a used/second hand item, there will be a strong chance that the guide has been lost. Try searching online for the manufacturer as many set-up guides are available for download for free. If there is nothing online, call the manufacturer directly.
  • Baby changers are now readily available in places such as shopping centres and motorway services and should comply with the latest safety standard. Nevertheless, the same precautions should be taken if using one – do not leave the baby unattended at any time.
  • It is important that you never leave the baby unattended, even for a few seconds to reach for the nappy or cream, as they may roll and fall off the changer. Best practice is to always change your baby on the floor – away from any other hazards.

Cots and beds

Cots and Beds FACT SHEET

Did You Know?

  • Young children move around a lot when sleeping and can easily fall out of bed.
  • If you purchase a cot with drop-down sides, be aware that young babies can slide between the frame and the mattress which can cause injury or restrict breathing. Our information on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at the bottom of this page has lots of information relating to best practice involving babies and sleeping.
  • Bunk beds are not recommended for children under 6.  

How to Buy Safely

  • When thinking of buying cots and beds consider what your priorities are. Is it cost, or is it more important for it to be easy to set up? How about the safety and suitability for your child? Make sure you have read our information about SIDS at the bottom of this page.
  • Check any cot conforms to the latest safety standard, BS EN 716-1:2008+A1:2013. It should be marked with a reference to this standard together with the name or trade mark of the manufacturer, distributor or retailer. The cot should also be accompanied with assembly instructions.
  • If you’re buying a second hand cot you may wish to replace the mattress. Any new mattress should be a good fit to the cot, ensuring your baby cannot trap their arms of legs down the side.

Bunk Beds

  • We do not advise that children under the age of 5 sleep in bunk beds, However, as your child gets older, you may wish to use one.

How to Set Up Safely

  • Follow the instructions provided but if you’ve purchased a second-hand item, without instructions, find out the manufacturer is and search online to see if you can find a set.
  • For child safety, it is best to site cots for babies, and beds for young children, away from windows and radiators. Young babies should always be placed on their backs ‘feet to foot’ of the cot without pillows, cot bumpers or soft toys in the cot, to keep them safe.

What The Law Says 

  • General Product Safety Regulations require these items to be safe but there are also specific regulations for bunk beds detailing requirements to prevent entrapment.
  • Due to the number of serious accidents that have occurred where children have slipped through gaps in the restraining rails of bunk beds and trapped their heads, a standard has been developed. To prevent injury, strangulation or suffocation a British/European Standard BS EN 747-1: 2012 and BS EN 747-2: 2012 has been developed,
  • The Standards specify various safety requirements that a bunk bed must have. This includes; Protective barriers, Guard rails, Ladders, Strength of materials, Durability, Instructions for use and more.

SIDS

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – commonly referred to as ‘cot death’ – is the term used to describe the sudden and unexplained death of a baby. SIDS is the leading cause of death for infants aged between one month and one year in developed countries. Some 290 babies die of SIDS every year in the UK. Nearly half of these deaths were boys in 2013 and the rate of infant deaths is higher for mothers below the age of 20.* Sadly, the cause of SIDS remains unknown. However, research has identified the simple steps parents and carers can make to reduce the risk of their baby dying suddenly and unexpectedly

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep
  • Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and birth
  • Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first six months
  • Breastfeed your baby
  • Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition
  • Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby
  • Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink or take drugs or are extremely tired
  • Avoid letting your baby get too hot. A room temperature of 16-20°C is recommended
  • Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding.

*Credit Office of National Statistics 2015

Car seats

Child Car Seats FACT SHEET

Did You Know?

  • Child car seats that were manufactured before 1995 are no longer legal for use.
  • Children must use a child’s car seat until they are 135cm tall or 12 years old, whichever is soonest.
  • Not all car seats fit all cars – be sure you are buying a compatible seat before handing over your money!
  • You should choose a child’s car seat based upon their weight or height and not their age.

 

How To Buy Safely

  • Check that the seat is suitable for your car. The shape of the seat, the length of the seat belts and the position of belt anchorage points will vary. The manufacturer and the retailer can advise on this.
  • Choose a retailer which is knowledgeable and will demonstrate how to fit the seat. Avoid buying by mail order or over the internet unless you are certain it will fit your car properly.
  • Consider what your priorities are. Is it that the product must be easy to use, or is it more important for it to be a seat that can grow with your child?
  • Only EU-approved child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle. Check that the seat meets the latest safety standard. Look for ECE R44:04 or R129 which should be marked on the seat. However, not all Isofix seats fit all Isofix cars so check with the seat manufacturer or retailer before you buy.
  • i-Size seats comply with the latest car seat safety standard ECE Regulation 129 but require Isofix connection.  These seats offer more protection as R129 takes into account side impact collisions whereas the older standard R44 does not.  You can recognise an i-Size seat from this logo:
  • We recommend you use a rear facing seat for as long as possible and at least until your child weighs 9kg, or reaches 15 months if using an i-Size seat. 
  • If you’re buying a seat for an older child we strongly recommend you avoid backless boosters as they simply don’t offer the same protection as other seats.
  • Only buy a second hand car seat if you can be certain about its history. If it was in an accident there may be hidden damage that could render it ineffective. Having a copy of the instructions is important too so you can fix the seat to the car safely.
  • If you are buying online check the sellers rating or reviews and their location. Goods sold online may well be cheaper but beware of inferior or even fake products. The picture and description may say it’s a brand you recognise, but what is delivered could be something different. Make sure the goods you receive match what was advertised online – if they don’t, contact the website and seller. Sites like eBay have teams dedicated to resolving cases where the sent item doesn’t match what was advertised. The most important thing is to make sure your purchase doesn’t put your child at risk!

How To Set Up Safely

  • It’s generally safer to fit a child’s car seat in the rear of the car rather than the front.
  • If you fit a rear-facing seat in the front of a car you MUST ensure the front airbag is deactivated.  To do this consult your car’s manual.
  • If fitting a child’s seat in the front of a car the car seat should be positioned as far back as it will go.
  • If you take a child car seat out of the car make sure it’s fitted properly every time it’s put back in.  If it stays in the car all the time check it regularly to make sure it’s securely fitted.
  • Police and Trading Standards checks have found the majority of car seats are fitted incorrectly, check the instructions. If you don’t have instructions these can probably be found on the internet.

How To Use Safely

  • There are three common types of child car seats; those with an integral harness, seats with an impact shield and booster seats/cushions.
  • If using a seat with an integral harness make sure the top of the harness is about 2cm below the shoulder of a child in a rear facing seat and 2 cm above the shoulder of a child in a forward facing seat; also the harness should be quite tight so that only two fingers can fit between the child’s chest and harness.
  • If using a booster seat the seat belt should be worn as tightly as possible with the lap belt going from hip to hip (rather than over the tummy) and the diagonal belt should rest on the child’s shoulder rather than their neck.
  • Remember that the clothing your child wears will affect the fit of the harness so check each time you use the seat.
  • Avoid dressing your child in a thick coat or bodysuit when using a car seat as this will reduce the effectiveness of the seat’s harness.
  • We recommend you limit the time your child spends in their car seat particularly when they are new-born.  Taking regular breaks will also help keep the driver alert!

Anything else you should know

The law regarding the sale of backless booster seats changed in March 2017.  Under new EU wide regulations, manufacturers are not allowed to introduce new backless booster seats (booster cushions) for children weighing less than 22kg or shorter than 125cm.

These seats are unsuitable for small children and offer limited protection in the event of a collision because the child is not held securely by the adult seatbelt across their body. New models of backless booster cushions must be clearly labelled as only suitable for children over 125cm in height and 22kg in weight. The new rules don’t affect existing models of seats or cushions and it doesn’t mean that they are illegal so parents who already own and use backless boosters will still be permitted to use them. However, a recent study has indicated that 66% of parents with children under the age of 12 do not know the current laws about child car seats and these changes may encourage parents to consider checking how their child travels.

Industry safety tests  also disturbingly indicate that 8 out of 10 parents install child car seats incorrectly, when using a seat belt while 94% of parents use ISOFIX correctly.

Research in Sweden has shown that rear-facing child car seats can offer up to 75% better protection in the event of an accident.