A shocking number of dangerous baby products are making their way into family homes throughout the UK.

ITV Regional News revealed today that many parents are unaware that products they’re buying from online marketplaces could suffocate, strangle or even choke their baby.

Products assessed by a panel of experts from the Child Accident Prevention Trust, Institute of Health Visiting and Lullaby Trust included sleep bags, cot bumpers, baby pillows, baby nests and teething necklaces.

The knitted swaddle sleep bag has now been removed from sale because of the serious risks it poses to babies, including suffocation, overheating and death.

Baby knitted swaddle sleep bag

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust said:

“It’s hard enough being a new parent. Parents should be able to trust that the things they buy for their baby are safe – whether from sellers on online marketplaces or shops on their high street.

“In our recent survey, three-quarters of parents thought that – if they were buying for their baby from an online marketplace – the product would have been fully tested and certified safe by an authorised independent body before it could be sold online. That’s simply not the case.

“In reality, if an online seller is based overseas, and sells through an online platform, they can evade their safety responsibilities – even for nursery products for your baby.”

According to research by the Institute of Health Visiting 93% of health visitors said they had needed to advise parents to stop using unsafe baby products that are freely available to buy in the UK.

Health visitors are worried that celebrity endorsements and advertising could lure parents into a false sense of security with products that promise a sleep solution but actually pose a risk to babies.

Georgina Mayes, iHV Policy and Quality Lead, said:

“Parents just want to do the right thing for their baby. Clever online marketing and promotion of unsafe baby products, lures parents into a false sense of security, because the items are sold as ‘being able to make babies sleep better’. As an exhausted parent, who wouldn’t want their baby to sleep better? You can understand why parents buy these products.

“Our survey showed, when health visitors explain the risks posed to babies, parents are shocked that unsafe baby products are allowed to be sold online. Health visitors have a vital role in supporting families to access the right information on how to keep their baby safe. Just one conversation could prevent an accident or tragedy.”

Our advice when buying for your baby online:

  • Check who you are buying from and where they are based. Is it a reputable company or brand? Remember, not everything advertised on well-known online platforms is sold by that platform. You may actually be buying from a company you’ve never heard of, that’s based overseas and that’s ignoring UK safety laws.
  • Check if the product is dangerous and has been removed from sale. Visit gov.uk for a list of recalled products.
  • Stop using recalled baby products straight away. Return them for a refund.
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