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baby and toy

product safety - baby and child

All you need to know to keep your children safe at home, from advice on affixing furniture to walls to ensuring that fancy dress is both fun and safe

Furniture

Nursery furniture

Many children, especially younger ones, love exploring and climbing things, so the most important part of furniture assembly is fixing it to walls to prevent serious injuries and even fatalities. Tall and heavy furniture is at most risk of tipping, but you should stabilise any pieces above 60cm high.

See our Furniture safety page to find out more.

Bedrooms

children's bedroom

We recommend that you think about the following when choosing your child's new bed:

  • Ensure the bed complies to the relevant child’s domestic bed safety standard
  • Only use child or junior single beds for children over the age of 4 years (18kg/40lbs)
  • Place beds either tight to the wall or with a gap of 300mm: this should be sufficient to help prevent a child getting trapped between the bed and wall should they fall
  • Use a guard rail to start with to help your child settle into their new environment and prevent them from rolling out of the bed
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use guidelines

Toddlers

Toddler beds are a great mid-point between a cot and their first grown up bed. Featuring side rails to prevent active sleepers from falling out, they accommodate cot bed mattresses (140 x 70cm) so are great value too.

Furniture safety page

 

Car seats

car seat

There is a lot of legislation and official guidance on car seats, nursery mattresses and more. This is all in place to keep babies and young children safe as they sleep and travel.

The use of car seats and belts for children is regulated by law. To ensure your child’s safety in a car, it is important that you choose the right car seat and fit it correctly. Read our buying guide full of information on car seats.

The law states that children less than 135cm tall or under 12 years old must use the child restraint appropriate for their weight in any vehicle (including vans and other goods vehicles).

Rear-facing baby seats MUST NOT be used in a seat protected by a frontal airbag unless the airbag has been deactivated manually or automatically. It’s safest for children to remain rearward facing for longer as this helps protect their neck and head in the event of a collision.

It's not necessarily time to change seats when your child’s feet stick out of the seat shell. They only need to move from a Group 0+ car seat at 13kg or when their head is higher than the top of their car seat, there’s no need to move baby to a forward facing position if their feet are pushed against the car’s back seat.

Car seat buying guide

Find out about our in-store car seat fitting demonstration service

Nursery furniture & mattresses

toddler bed

Cots and mattresses

  • Buy a cot that conforms to British or European safety standards
  • Check that the drop side is secure and can't be lowered by a child
  • Choose a durable, non-toxic finish
  • Choose a firm mattress and make sure it stays clean and dry
  • Make sure the mattress is the right size - there should not, at any point, be a gap of more than 3cm between the mattress edge and the cot
  • Second-hand mattresses can contain harmful pathogens, so we recommend a new mattress for a second child
  • Always ensure all users follow safety information provided on individual products and in assembly instructions
  • Avoid mattresses with handles, as they may trap your baby's hands or feet

Bedding

  • Check the room temperature regularly so that your baby isn't too hot or too cold
  • Use lightweight bedding in layers
  • Don't use a duvet if your baby is under 12 months, as he or she might overheat
  • Don't use a pillow if your baby is under 12 months

Moses baskets and cribs

  • These aren't suitable for babies old enough to pull themselves up
  • Check the basket regularly for signs of wear and tear, particularly the handles
  • Make sure that swinging cribs are locked when not in use or when your baby is left unattended
  • Always ensure all users follow safety information provided on individual products and in assembly instructions

Find out more in our Nursery Essentials buying guide

 

Prams & pushchairs

prams

By law, all pushchairs sold in the UK must comply with British standards.
Some travel systems may include a car seat that complies with European standards.
To ensure your child's safety, remember these simple points:

Find out more in our Prams & pushchairs buying guide

Safety tips

  • Read the instructions carefully and familiarise yourself with all the moving parts before you use your pushchair for the first time
  • Show anyone who's going to use your pushchair, and who may be unfamiliar with it, how to open and close it, and how to operate the brakes and locking mechanism
  • Check that locking devices are secure when you open the pushchair, and release all locks before folding it
  • Secure your child in the pushchair with the five-point harness
  • Don't adjust the seat position while your child is in the pushchair
  • Never leave your child unattended
  • Don't carry more than one child in your pushchair unless it's designed for that
  • Tempting as it is to do, hanging shopping or other heavy items on the handles could cause your pushchair or pram to tip over
  • Don't use PVC rain covers indoors or in strong sunlight

Toy safety

toys

The safety of toys is very important and we take a number of steps to ensure the safety and compliance of the toys we sell. There are also other checks to help children play safely.

Age recommendations and warnings

wooden toys

Always check the packaging and warnings to ensure a toy is appropriate and safe for the child’s age. Toys carry age recommendations such as 12+ months, 3+, 8+, and these are the recommended age of the children, based on development and types of play.

3 Plus age guideline safety symbol

Many toys will carry safety warnings that must be followed as they are for safety issues, such as long cords and small parts.  One of the most common warnings is for toys that are not suitable for children under 3 years due to small parts which could be a choking hazard. This also means older children’s toys may present a hazard if younger children are also present.

This symbol means the toy is not suitable for children under 3 years due to safety concerns.

3 Plus age guideline safety symbol

Toy testing

toys and sand

There are many European toy safety standards that we ensure our toys have been tested against and comply with. The most common standards are: 

BS EN71 Part 1 Mechanical and Physical Properties. This covers issues like small parts, sharp points and cords, etc. 

BS EN71 Part 2 Flammability. Flammability of toys, especially textile items like soft toys. 

BS EN71 Part 3 Toxicity. Checks the toys for certain chemicals that could be harmful if consumed by children if toys are sucked and chewed. 

The CE mark used on toys is a declaration of compliance to European toy safety regulations. We recommend that you only buy toys from a reputable retailer and that they carry the CE mark. This can be a particular issue if buying second hand toys with no packaging.

CE logo

Care and maintenance

toys on a shelf

Check toys regularly for signs of damage or wear and tear, such as rough edges or small parts that may break off.

Once bath toys have been used, it’s important to drain out any water and allow them to dry to prevent mould growth.  Most wooden and plastic toys can be cleaned using a damp cloth and dried.

Button and coin batteries

watch batteries

These small, flat batteries can be easily ingested by young children by accident,  but can cause serious internal burns as they contain harmful chemicals. 

Always ensure battery compartments on toys are screwed in place and spare or used button or coin batteries are stored away from children. If you do suspect your child has swallowed a battery, seek medical attention immediately .

Fancy dress

Halloween items

Halloween

We work with The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to help
people celebrate Halloween safely. Together we have come up with a few simple
tips, so that we can all have fun by reducing the risk of accidental injury.

  • Any dressing-up costumes you buy should have been tested against the toy standards flammability requirements and carry a CE mark. This means if the items should catch alight the rate the flame will spread is slower
  • Please be aware that items you may make or use may not have had any flammability testing so could ignite easily
  • Please use candles carefully at Halloween; never leave them unattended, and remember to extinguish them
  • Don’t allow children to carry, play or be around candles. Use battery-operated candles instead
  • When outside, ensure children can be seen in the dark by wearing something reflective, and carrying a torch

Trampolines

trampolines

Trampolining is good fun and great exercise, and even better when you stay safe: here are our safety tips:

  • Choose a trampoline with padding to protect bouncers from bits that could hurt them, such as the springs, hooks and frame. A safety net adds extra protection
  • Take turns – most accidents happen when there are more than one bouncer. If you do let two people bounce together, make sure they’re a similar size – adults and children shouldn’t bounce together
  • While the most common injuries are to arms, awkward landings – especially on the head or neck – can cause life-changing injuries. Learn from the experts, for example at school, gymnastics or trampolining club, before attempting any somersaults!
  • Don’t let children bring sticks, bikes, scooters, skateboards, plastic swords, cricket stumps or anything else they could fall against or hurt themselves with on to the trampoline
  • Avoid ties, scarves or anything round the neck that could get caught
  • Never place animals or pets on a trampoline 
  • Many trampolines aren’t suitable for children under 6 – always check the manufacturer’s instructions first
  • Trampolines need at least 2m (6' 6") free space around them