How to Buy Nursery Equipment

How to Buy Nursery Equipment

Here’s some advice on how to save your children from injury caused by playpens, cribs, walkers, highchairs and other nursery equipment. Every year, about thousands of children are injured in accidents involving nursery products. Almost all of those injuries could be prevented if parents knew how to buy and use nursery equipment. But uninformed parents often let nursery products turn into time bombs. Here’s some advice about nursery equipment that may save your child from becoming part of the annual nursery-product slaughter.

• Safety standards for nursery products are under continuous revision and updating, but hazardous and non-conforming products are seldom recalled or brought into conformity with new safety requirements. So you have to make sure any product you buy meets the latest safety standards.

• Look out for used nursery equipment which may meet only minimal safety standards or none at all. For example, mandatory standards for full-sized cribs were not adopted until recently. That means cribs made before then may not meet any safety standards and be unsafe on many counts. Slats on these older cribs may be more than 2 inches apart. Many children, using these older cribs, have slipped between the slats or become entrapped in them.

• There are whole classes of nursery products that may be too hazardous to use. Two such products are walkers and portable hook-on chairs. Too many children fall out of them, and suffer head injury. Other critics say walkers are among the most hazardous of baby products. Critics also doubt whether there are any portable hook-on chairs that are safe. These chairs serve as substitutes for highchairs.

• Read the owner’s manual and instructions that come with any nursery product. If you don’t know how to use these nursery products, there’s a good chance they will cause injury to your child. For example, there are many rules for the safe use of strollers. The seat belt that comes with a stroller should be used at all times. If it is not, the baby may stand up, climb out, or slip out of the stroller and injure himself

• Properly maintain nursery equipment or it will soon become dangerous for your child. Missing crib slats, broken hardware or malfunctioning parts may lead to entrapment, strangulation, laceration and other injuries.

• Periodically check to see if your nursery equipment has been recalled for safety defects.

• Don’t buy or use nursery equipment in order to avoid keeping an eye on your child. Most of the injuries to young children might be avoided by proper parental supervision. Most highchair injuries result from falls. So you should not leave a child alone in a highchair. Many injuries associated with walkers involve unattended children falling down stairs. It also is especially dangerous to leave a child unattended in a portable hook-on chair. Supervision means more than physical presence. It means watchful attention.

• Most of the safety standards for nursery equipment are only voluntary, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission lacks resources to enforce the few mandatory standards it has promulgated. That means many nursery products go on the market which do not meet even minimal safety standards. You can get some assurance of safety by buying products certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association. If certified, the nursery product will have the JPMA logo and will be marked “CERTIFIED.”

• You have to educate yourself on the proper use, maintenance, and hazards of nursery products or they are likely to become hazardous.

• If your child is injured by any unsafe nursery product, do something about it. File a complaint with the U S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.