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Baby walkers to be made safer

9 October 2001 Media Statement


Baby walkers are to be made safer.

As many as thirteen babies a year are injured from falls involving baby walkers and the Government is introducing a new mandatory standard to reduce accidents.

From 1 March next year, baby walkers will have to include safety features that help to prevent them from tipping over or toppling down stairs. Baby walkers will have to be sold with product information and safety warnings on them.

Acting Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Anderton said most of the estimated thirteen hospitalisations a year from baby walker injuries are caused by falls down stairs.

"Compared with other nursery furniture, the likelihood of an injury caused by a fall in a baby walker is relatively high.

“About 30-thousand infants are put in baby walkers every year. Their parents and caregivers will still have the choice to use baby walkers, but they will have the advantage of mandatory warnings and safety features in line with international trends and requirements,” Jim Anderton said.

Baby walkers that meet the new mandatory standard are currently about $30 more expensive than the lowest priced non-compliant walkers.

The new mandatory standard will include baby walkers sold by second-hand dealers. The Commerce Commission will monitor and enforce the standard. It will be able to carry out proactive inspections and follow up complaints from the public. Retailers, manufacturers, and importers who sell non-compliant walkers could be fined up to $100,000. Private individuals could be fined up to $30,000.

Consumer Affairs is advising parents who continue to use older baby walkers to be extra vigilant in keeping hot liquids out of reach and using barriers around stairs, fires and heaters.

ENDS

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