Commissioner's Blog: Baby neck floats warning

This announcement is for: 
ConsumerProduct safety

With Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard

You’ve probably seen photos or videos of babies bobbing up and down in water aided by a baby neck float. In case the craze has passed you by, the inflatable plastic rings go around an infant’s neck to support them as they float on water. They are used in the same way as other flotation devices, except they keep only the head afloat.

While there may be some high quality versions of baby neck floats, for example those used as medical aids for children with disabilities, cheaper inferior alternatives are starting to make their way into the marketplace and it’s causing us some concern.

We’re warning parents and caregivers against using unsafe baby neck floats after recent safety investigations discovered two products that failed to meet safety standards and had the potential to cause serious injuries to infants.

The Queensland Office of Fair Trading’s investigation into the two separate product lines found they both failed to meet nine clauses of the mandatory standard for swimming and flotation devices. For that reason, the two products in question are now banned from sale in Australia and any that have been sold are recalled at the expense of the suppliers:

Anyone who purchased a baby neck float from either trader should return it for a refund.

Baby neck float safety risks

  • If it is too wide the infant’s mouth and nose can be obstructed, which could lead to suffocation.
  • If it too loose the baby could slip through altogether, which could lead to drowning.
  • If any baby neck float is too tight the infant may find it difficult to breathe and the major blood vessels which deliver blood and oxygen to the brain could be blocked.
  • If multiple children are in water together the water surface can become uneven and there is a risk of an infant tipping over or the device detaching from the baby.

Unless baby neck floats are medically prescribed and professionally fitted, they can be very dangerous. We’re talking life or death, so buying a cheap version online to use for fun in a family pool is a really bad idea that could have fatal consequences.

We are monitoring the marketplace but if you know of baby neck floats being sold locally or online which you suspect are unsafe please report them to us by emailing consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au. Information on Australian product safety standards and bans is available from Product Safety Australia www.productsafety.gov.au.

David Hillyard, Acting Commissioner
David Hillyard, Acting Commissioner, by CP Media
David Hillyard, Acting Commissioner, by CP Media

 

Consumer Protection
Media release
24 Aug 2017

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