Having a baby can be a wonderful experience and every parent wants their child to look as beautiful and special as possible. Although most baby clothing and accessories are perfectly safe, RoSPA has noticed a worrying new trend emerging among parents who are opting to use “bling dummies” to soothe their children and are accessorising further with “bling clips” or “bling bottles”.
These eye-catching items are of the usual design but with one important difference – they have been decorated with stuck on beads, gems and other items in order to add a touch of “sparkle” to their baby’s look. Adding “bling” to dummies serves no useful purpose, it is purely a cosmetic addition. But there are some very serious hazards associated with these products which many parents may not be aware of.
Bling dummies, clips and bottles are of great concern to Trading Standards officers. A huge amount of enforcement action has been taken against suppliers of these products, primarily to address choking hazards posed when the “bling” becomes detached. As these are relatively new products there is considerable scope for research, advice and awareness-raising in this area for RoSPA.
The key issue here is that the decorations that are attached to the dummies, clips and bottles are often easily detachable and once detached can pose a choking hazard to a baby. The decoration can become stuck in the throat of the child or can be ingested and cause internal problems. Parents should not take the view that these products are safe because they regularly monitor their children – this is simply not possible every second of every day.
Many of these products are manufactured by legitimate companies and start life in accordance with the highest safety standards. But it is what happens next which is the concern. The items are then being bought by other companies who glue on the gems, beads and other decorations. There are strict controls on adding beads, gems or stickers to soothers, bottles and other baby products and as such these customised products are potentially unsafe.
An additional concern is that some of these dummies and bottles are being imported from the Far East and as such may not have been subjected to the same testing for chemicals and durability as UK dummies and bottles. These products have been made available on websites and in independent shops and market stalls.
It is very important to remember who these products are designed to please. They are sold for the gratification of the parent, not the child. RoSPA is adamant that parents should always put their children’s safety before any desires to accessorise or “bling” them up.
There have been cases of these products being taken off the UK market because they pose a choking hazard. In RoSPA’s view, the biggest problem is that these products are widely available on the internet, but the fact that these products are being offered for sale and delivery to your home does not mean that they are safe for your baby.
If consumers have concerns about any products they have seen advertised, contact Citizens Advice consumer helpline, on 08454 04 05 06.
Philip Le Shirley, RoSPA’s product safety adviser.