Consumer watchdog investigates safety of baby bouncers

Australia's consumer watchdog is conducting a safety review of a wide range of baby products used for sleeping including bouncers, recliners and rockers. Picture: File image
Australia's consumer watchdog is conducting a safety review of a wide range of baby products used for sleeping including bouncers, recliners and rockers. Picture: File image

AUSTRALIA’S consumer watchdog is investigating whether baby bouncers, rockers and recliners are safe to use for sleeping, following a number of deaths in the US.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says there have been increasing concerns about infant products used for sleeping where the baby’s head and back are inclined.

The review covers a range of products including bouncers, rockers, swings, loungers, bassinet-type products, wedges, recliners and inclined sleep accessories, some of which the ACCC says claim to be safe and suitable for sleeping. 

“We’re focusing on these sorts of products because of recent recalls and increasing concerns regarding the use of infant inclined products,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said on Friday.

“We are going to take a thorough look at the types of infant inclined products available in Australia and assess the potential risks associated with their use for sleeping or, even in some cases, playing.”

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported at least 74 infant deaths while using bouncers, rockers and recliners since 2005, the ACCC noted.

More than 30 of the deaths occurred in Fisher-Price’s Rock ‘n Play Sleeper and five in the Kids II Rocking Sleeper, usually after the infants rolled from their back to their stomach or side while unrestrained and suffocated.

All models of those products sold in Australia have been voluntarily recalled, as well as in New Zealand and the US.

There have been no reports of injuries or deaths in Australia, the ACCC said.

Ms Rickard said the ACCC urged parents and caregivers to follow expert advice about safe sleep practices.

“Both night and day, place babies to sleep on their backs on a firm, flat surface without pillows, bumpers or other items in the sleep environment and with bedding tucked in securely or alternatively place baby in a safe baby sleeping bag.”