New safety standards for children’s sleeping items – including duvets, baby sleeping bags and cot mattresses – which should help to prevent many cot –related accidents, were given a green light today by EU Member States. The vote took place in the General Product Safety Committee in Brussels. Cot-related accidents are responsible for more childhood deaths every year than any other child-care products.
According to the European Injury Database, between 2005-2007, 17 000 accidents involving children from 0 to 4 years in the EU happened in the cot. Despite the frequency of serious and sometimes fatal accidents caused by cot mattresses, cot bumpers, suspended baby beds, children’s duvets and baby sleeping bags, currently there are no EU safety standards for these products. The proposed new standards will reduce the risk of accidents from, for example, choking on loose parts, entrapment of an infant due to bad mattress design or asphyxiation accidents from cords or loops. Other necessary standards, such as stability and design requirements to reduce the risk of falls and injuries from suspended beds for babies, will also be introduced. The proposed safety requirements are now subject to a three month scrutiny period in the European Parliament and the Council, and they will then go to the College of Commissioners for a formal decision before being sent to the European Standardisation bodies.