South Australian Minister for Consumer Affairs Gail Gago has announced the South Australian Office of Consumer and Business Affairs is conducting an audit on cots as part of an Australia-wide strategy to ensure products are meeting safety regulations.
Ms Gago said the Product Safety section within OCBA this month commenced monitoring the marketplace as part of the National Surveillance Program, coordinated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
“As part of the National Product Safety Survey Program, OCBA was assigned household and portable folding cots supplied by franchised furniture stores,” the Minister said. “We are also surveying moveable soccer goals and blind and curtain cords.
“In addition to our work for the national program, OCBA is conducting further compliance checks on cots sold in second hand and charity stores as well as those supplied by hire companies.”
Ms Gago said parents purchasing should only select one which complies with the mandatory safety standard based on the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 2172) for household cots.
“Look for a label or sticker that says the cot complies with the mandatory standard. If there isn’t one, ask the retailer.
“If the retailer cannot verify that it complies, do not buy it. All cots sold, even second-hand ones, must comply with this standard and check that bars, panels, mattress base and drop sides are firmly attached.”
Ms Gago said OCBA has investigated 24 cot complaints since 2002 and there have been product safety recalls of 11 household cots and three portable folding cots between 1998 and 2011.
“Tragically, in South Australia at least 18 children have died as a result of incidents associated with cots since 2000,” the Minister said.
“That is why surveillance of this kind is crucial in ensuring products meet safety standards to prevent injuries and deaths from falls and entrapment.”
Ms Gago said severe penalties were in place for companies or individuals supplying goods which do not meet the mandatory safety standard. They include:
- Body corporate: $1.1 million (maximum)
- Individual: $220,000 (maximum)
- Expiation: $1,200
Ms Gago encouraged consumers to consider ACCC advice when purchasing a cot; including taking a tape measure with you so you can check the cot’s dimensions to ensure they meed standards. Consumers should check:
- the mattress fits snugly to within 20mm of sides and ends
- when the mattress base is set in the lower position, the cot sides or end need to be at least 500mm higher than the mattress
- the spacing between the bars or panels in the cot sides and ends needs to be between 50 mm and 95 mm—gaps wider than 95 mm can trap a child’s head. If the bars or panels are made from flexible material, the maximum spacing between the bars or panels should be less than 95 mm
- that there are no spaces between 30mm and 50mm that could trap your child’s arms or legs
- that there are no small holes or openings between 5mm and 12mm wide that small fingers can be caught in
- check there are no fittings (including bolts, knobs and corner posts) that might catch onto your child’s clothing and cause distress or strangulation.
OCBA will be inspecting cots to ensure gaps and openings comply with requirements and also that mandatory safety warnings, concerning adjustable base cots and fitting of correctly sized mattresses, are present.
Several other products will also be targeted by other state regulators during the year as part of the national safety surveillance program. They include bunk beds, spas and skimmer boxes, trolley jacks, children’s nightwear and hot water bottles.
South Australian Office of Consumer and Business Affairs (08) 8152 0732
ACCC Infocentre 1300 302 502