Posts tagged ‘choking hazard’

18 April, 2012

“Baby Bling” – a dangerous new fashion trend

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”.

bling dummies baby bling

Adding “bling” to dummies can create a choking hazard.

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.

bling dummies baby bling

“Bling” dummies, clips or bottles are widely available for sale on the internet, but this does not mean they are safe for your baby.

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.

20 March, 2012

Amber teething necklaces – is your child at risk?

It is a common conundrum for parents all around the world – what is the best method to help soothe my baby? While there are many ways and means out there which are both safe and effective, from gentle rocking to a tuneful lullaby, RoSPA has noticed a worrying new trend emerging among parents who are opting to use amber bead teething necklaces.

Amber teething necklace

An example of an amber teething necklace.

These eye-catching beads are made from natural Baltic amber and are placed around a baby’s neck to help soothe the pain of teething. While there is evidence to show that these beads can have an analgesic effect, there are some very serious hazards associated with the product which we wish to make parents aware of.

Baltic amber contains between three and eight per cent succinic acid. Those that subscribe to this method of soothing argue that the acid, which has been shown to stimulate neural system recovery and bolster the immune system, is released from the beads and into the baby. The succinc acid is said to have an analgesic effect, reducing the pain of teething.

While RoSPA is not in a position to comment on the accuracy of these claims, in the past concerns have been raised about amber teething necklaces representing a choking hazard. The main concern relates to the beads and clasps which can become detached. There are also inherent strangulation hazards associated with having any type of cord placed around a child’s neck, especially babies. Some proponents have argued that the risk of strangulation is mitigated by only allowing the baby to wear the necklace when he/she is awake and under supervision. RoSPA does not support his view. Aside from the fact that babies spend a substantive part of their time sleeping, RoSPA does not advocate any cord being placed around any baby’s neck at any time. Our ongoing work on the risks posed by blind cords highlights the terrible tragedies of infant strangulation and the speed at which it can happen.

amber teething necklace baby

Amber teething necklaces are placed around a baby’s neck to help soothe the pain of teething – but it could pose a choking hazard.

RoSPA is fully aware of the stress parents can be under when their babies start teething, but there are many other options out there to help soothe teething pain, such as the use of medically approved creams applied directly to the gums. Other methods include teethers and teething toys which are often filled with a liquid and are sometimes kept refrigerated before being given to a baby to chew on. In all cases, RoSPA advises parents to seek advice from health workers (even before the baby is born) on the best and safest ways of soothing teething pain.

There have been cases of amber teething necklaces being taken off the UK and European market some years ago due to choking hazards. In RoSPA’s view, the biggest problem is that these necklaces 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.

%d bloggers like this: