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Article: Warning: 6 products that could pose a serious safety risk to your baby or child

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Warning: 6 products that could pose a serious safety risk to your baby or child

1. Self-feeding pillows

Baby using a self-feeding pillow

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) issued a safety alert at the end of last year for these items as they present a choking and pneumonia risk.

A self-feeding pillow is a bottle holder designed to free up a parent's hands when bottle-feeding a baby, but there's a risk that if a baby is left unattended, they could choke on the milk if the flow of the bottle is too fast.

Products like this aren't too widely available, but parents should look out for them on online marketplaces, craft stalls or second-hand baby product sales.

2. Novelty baby sleeping bags

Ladybird baby sleeping bag with furry hood

A baby sleeping bag that looks more like a dressing-up item, or has hoods, buttons or attachments, should be avoided.

In a 2020 investigation of baby sleeping bags sold on online marketplaces, we discovered many online sellers list their products under a range of names including, cocoon for a newborn, a quilt for a stroller and a baby sleeping bag.

The reality is that many are not suitable for sleeping, and could put your baby in danger. Some have pieces of the product (such as buttons or fur) that can be pulled off and become a choking risk, while others carry a risk of suffocation because a baby could wriggle down under the material and get trapped.

A safe baby sleeping bag should be: 

  • Sleeveless
  • Fit snugly around the chest while allowing your babies arms to remain free
  • Have strong zips and fasteners
  • Not have too wide or narrow a neck opening.

3. Cheap baby carriers

Cheap lightweight baby carrier

We found that 10 of the 11 baby carriers we bought from Amazon, eBay and Aliexpress had at least one serious safety failure, and nine could be potentially lethal if used to carry a real baby.

All cost less than £30, which is very cheap compared to the typical cost of a baby carrier sold via major retailers.

During our durability tests, which involves the carrier being filled with the maximum weight and attached to a moving dummy torso, the carriers ripped or snapped. 

This could prove extremely dangerous if your baby was in the carrier when it broke.

4. Soft fabric child car seats

Dangerous fabric car seat installed in car

We've been flagging the dangers of these 'car seats' for nearly 10 years, first covering them in a news story in 2014. 

Since then, many online marketplaces have taken successful steps to remove these types of listings from their site, and stop them reappearing.

However, parents should still be aware. These soft fabric car seats provide zero protection for a baby or child in a crash and are illegal as they lack the labelling and information for car seats approved to either R44 or R129 regulations.

If you spot a car seat being sold online that resembles the one in the picture above, report it to the retailer or seller, or let Which? know so we can investigate.

5. Cheap battery-operated and magnetic toys

Cheap magnetic toys

Be careful if you opt for any toys with magnets or small parts in them, particularly those sold via online marketplaces such as Aliexpress, Amazon, eBay and Wish.

A 2021 investigation into cheap toys sold on these sites found many were of such poor quality that small parts could break off and be a choking hazard, as well as button batteries and magnets, which can be extremely dangerous if ingested.

Our experts agree that if a toy seems cheaper than you expected, lacks age-appropriate labelling or a CE mark, or seems poor quality and lightweight, it's best to avoid it. 

Parents should open any toy packaging for the child, and keep an eye on them when playing with it for the first few times.

6. Newborn lounger pillows

Boppy newborn lounger pillow

Sleep positioners, lounger pillows and baby nests are popular with parents, but they're not recommended for sleeping.

The Lullaby Trust states that babies should only sleep on a firm, flat surface, but loungers and sleep pillows are too soft, and a baby could turn over and squash their face into them, which poses a suffocation risk. 

Manufacturers of nests or pillows often state that the items should not be used when your baby is sleeping, but the danger comes if the babies happen to fall asleep while resting in one, or if a parent forgets to move them.

In September 2021, US firm the Boppy Company recalled 3.3 million of its Newborn Lounger pillows because of the death of eight infants between December 2015 and June 2020.

Which? supports and reiterates the Lullaby Trust advice - the safest place for your baby to sleep will always be on a firm and flat surface.




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