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10 things not to buy your kids

Babies and toddlers

Baby helped to walkBaby walkers

Basically a frame on wheels, a baby walker is a piece of play equipment designed to support a baby who is not yet able to walk.

Because babies in walkers are much more mobile they can readily get themselves into dangerous situations, which can lead to serious injury.

In 2004, at the Children’s Hospital Emergency Department in Westmead, Sydney, 12% of injuries involving nursery furniture were due to baby walkers.

If you still want to use a baby walker, follow these tips to minimise risks.

Baby bath cradles and seats

By allowing a parent two free hands while bathing baby, bath cradles and seats seem a good idea. But babies have drowned using these bath aids.

Both seats and cradles carry the danger of babies slipping or tipping into the water and bath seats also carry a danger of children becoming trapped and submerged in the bath water.

With drowning the leading cause of death to children under five years, no young child should ever be left unsupervised in a bath. But these products give the illusion of security, and as a result carers can mistakenly answer a phone call, or race out to pick up a forgotten item.

Bean bags

Young children have died by inhaling the small polystyrene beads contained in bean bags and babies and young children are at risk of suffocation if placed on bean bags.

If you have any products with these beads including bean bags, pet beds, bean-filled soft toys and pool bean bags, you should ensure that the filling is not accessible to children.

Toy boxes

Kids create mess and you want them to learn to clean it up, so what’s harmful about something as traditional as a toy box? The lid.

Injuries and deaths of young children have been recorded in Australia and overseas from toy box lids falling onto a child’s head or neck. Children can also become trapped inside.

Kids up to two years are most at risk here, so if you have a box, the safest thing to do is remove the lid.

Jolly jumpers

Baby jumpers, often known as ‘jolly jumpers’, support a baby who is not yet able to stand in a seat which is hung from a door frame or tripod. Babies’ feet can then touch the floor allowing them to bounce up and down.

However, the door clamps can break, causing a baby to fall and older children can cause harm by pushing the baby into the doorway.

Any toy, part of toy or object small enough to fit into a film canister

Busy little fingers and developing minds like nothing better than exploring the world by pulling things apart and sticking them in the mouth. But if the part is small it can easily become lodged in a child’s airway and cause choking.

Small balls, pieces from board games, toy darts, loose buttons, coins, dolls’ eyes, bells, wheels, lollypops, small construction blocks, burst or uninflated balloons and batteries are all items that have caused children to choke.

The rule of thumb is, if it fits into a 35mm film canister or is smaller than a ping pong ball, if unsupervised, it’s a risk to young children.

Cot frills, bumpers, pillows or quilts

A pretty cot with all the trimmings looks great in the pictures — but frills, bumpers, doonas, pillows and quilts all place babies at risk of suffocation.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) research indicates the safest cot for a baby has a firm mattress, a securely fitted sheet and blanket and nothing else.

Projectile toys

Projectile toys, particularly suction darts in target gun sets, can be a choking danger to children and many are illegal. Impact from the projectile can also cause injury.

In 2004, 17 children in Western Australia alone required hospital treatment following injury from projectile toys.



Two kidsOkay, they can be fun exercise and help develop co-ordination and balance skills but trampolines are also the cause of many injuries to children, most commonly fractures and sprains to the arm.

Usually injuries occur at home when children fall off or hit the side of the trampoline, but there also are risks for young children who can wander underneath and get hit when another child bounces above.

To make a trampoline safer, at a minimum pad the upper frame and springs and ensure the surface area around the trampoline is soft. You can also get trampolines with safety nets.

As children under six should always be supervised on the trampoline, and trampolines also require regular inspection and maintenance, unless you have a lot of time you should think twice before putting one in your backyard.

Bunk beds

They are great space savers, particularly if you live in a flat or a small house, but bunk beds are also associated with significant injury rates due to falls or children jumping from the top bunk during play.

We say you’re better off with a more crowded bedroom, but if you think these are essential, we recommend children under the age of nine not be placed in bunk beds and guard rails be permanently attached to the top bunk.

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