Social media is awash with photos of influencers’ beautiful nurseries, cots covered by draping canopies. Suppliers, whether they be bricks-and-mortar or online, entice with displays of pretty nursery products and accessories but with no warnings of the dangers these may present to the little person sleeping in them.
It often comes as a surprise to parents that few nursery products, particularly infant sleeping products and accessories, are covered by an Australian/New Zealand safety standard. While cots must be manufactured to a mandatory standard, this does not extend to the accessories that are sold with them.
Safety experts are warning that decor trends for nurseries such as canopies, bumpers and doonas, usually all matching, or hanging accessories like mobiles pose significant dangers to children.
Canopies, for example, serve no purpose other than to be pretty but can be a potential strangulation hazard to infants, especially as they begin to explore their environment and start to pull on anything that may drape over their cot.
Decorations such as fairy lights may add a gentle glow but as Choice has warned, the string can be a strangulation risk or possible electrocution if baby chews on the cord, while bulbs can become a choking risk and if powered by button batteries, they are a serious health problem if swallowed.
Bumpers in the cot look soft and comfy but the risk of suffocation far outweighs the perceived benefit of preventing baby bumping its head on the cot bars. There is very little evidence of injury from this, but there are many tragic stories of baby rolling into the bumper and asphyxiating.
So, as tempting as it is to copy the Kardashians and their oh, so pretty nurseries, take a moment before you buy to stop and look with a little more critical eye at the Instagram-able décor and ask, is it safe, or just pretty?