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New baby walker safety standards working


Traders taking heed of new safety standard for baby walkers – but still room for improvement

A nationwide campaign by the Commerce Commission to increase awareness of the new safety standard for baby walkers has confirmed that traders and childcare providers are already taking heed of the regulations, but that there is still room for improvement.

In conjunction with a mailout to 800 shops and childcare providers of the Commission’s publication “Fair Trading Act – Enforcement of the baby walker safety standard regulations”, Commission staff inspected shops and childcare centres this week in a number of towns and cities.

From the 127 shops and childcare centres visited, only three baby walkers were found that were in breach of the product safety standard for baby walkers – all of which were second hand.

Fair Trading Branch Chief Investigator Ross McPherson said the findings were very positive. “Based on what we found and were told during the inspections, the majority of second-hand traders have removed any old stock from sale, and stopped purchasing any more for supply.

“But one baby walker in breach is still one too many and will put a child at risk. There is still room for improvement.”

None of the childcare providers inspected were found to be supplying baby walkers for use.

“The clear pattern from the inspections was that new baby walkers complied, second hand ones didn’t,” Mr McPherson said.

“Baby walkers that pre-date the introduction of the regulations are most likely to not comply – so the second hand market for baby walkers poses the greatest risk in terms of child safety.”

“Another major concern is baby walkers supplied privately – passed on by a family member or friend, or sold at a garage sale,” added Mr McPherson.

“People need to be aware that the regulations apply to anyone who supplies baby walkers – whether in trade or not. Individuals can be fined up to $30,000 for giving away a baby walker that breaches the regulations.

“While private sale or supply is more difficult to police, we would hope people are more concerned with child safety, rather than whether they can get away with supplying a baby walker that breaches the standard.”

Businesses found to be in breach of the product safety standard for baby walkers will receive a formal warning from the Commission, and information to assist with compliance.

“If further surveillance or information provided indicates any of the traders are still in breach of the standards, the Commission will not hesitate to take further enforcement action.”

Background

The baby walker safety standard regulations took full effect from March this year.

They were introduced to reduce the risk of injuries to young children and apply to any person who supplies, offers to supply, or advertises for supply, baby walkers – whether in trade or not.

The baby walker safety standard regulations require that baby walkers are sold with product information and safety warnings on them. In addition, manufacturers will have to ensure safety features that help prevent them from tipping over or toppling downstairs are included.

The regulations apply to any person involved in the importing, manufacture, distribution or retail of baby walkers and covers both retail and private supply (including second-hand), exchange, lease, hire and hire-purchase of baby walkers.

The Commerce Commission monitors and enforces the standard. It is able to carry out proactive inspections and follow up complaints from the public.

Retailers, manufacturers and importers who sell non-compliant walkers can be fined up to $100,000, private individuals up to $30,000.

The Commission inspected 127 shops and childcare providers in Mt Maunganui, Paeroa, Waihi, Tauranga, KatiKati, Whakatane, Te Puke, Rotorua, Hamilton, Napier, Hastings, Dunedin, Timaru and Oamaru. The Commission’s publication “Fair Trading Act – Enforcement of the baby walker safety standard regulations” is available on its website at http://www.comcom.govt.nz/publications/publist.cfm

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