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Retailer fires back at Choice warning on travel cots

Six popular portable cots sold at Australian retailers failed to meet testing standards.

Six popular portable cots sold at Australian retailers failed to meet testing standards. Photo: Getty

A major retailer has hit back after Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group urged parents to stop using some of the most popular travel cots, saying they posed a life-threatening danger to babies.

Choice said on Thursday that many cots sold by popular retailers such as Target, Kmart and Baby Bunting failed to meet key safety standards.

Its annual safety testing found six out of 11 tested products had one or more serious safety failures, posing risk of injury and “unexpected death in infancy”.

“The failure rate that we’ve seen in our latest round of portable cot testing is really concerning. We know that parents expect better from brands that are sold by popular retailers like Target and Baby Bunting,” Choice testing expert Kim Gilmour said in a statement.

“The most common safety issue we saw in our testing was a mattress that isn’t firm enough, which is a factor linked to sudden unexpected death in infancy.”

The hazardous cots were tested for their firmness, sturdiness and stability, breathable zones on all four sides, and an absence of factors that could cause injury, including entrapment hazards.

The six portable cots from Choice’s 2022 testing failed to meet both voluntary and mandatory Australian standards, the group said.

Cots

Target’s Adventure V2 3 in 1 Portacot was one of six cots found to be dangerous to infants. Photo: Choice

Target’s Adventure V2 3 in 1 Portacot, the Baby Bunting 4Baby Clouds 2 in 1 Portacot, the Baby Bunting 4Baby Vacation Portacot, the Kmart Anko 3 in 1 Portacot, Phil & Teds Traveller 2021, and Star Kidz Vivo Super Light Travel Cot failed the safety test.

But a Kmart spokesman disputed the Choice findings.

“We disagree with Choice’s claims concerning mattress firmness on the Kmart and Target portacots, particularly as both brands have tested this product to these same standards in an independent accredited laboratory and the results showed full compliance,” the spokesperson said.

“We disputed Choice’s findings over a month ago and questioned testing methods because Choice do not use an accredited laboratory to test portacots. Our Kmart and Target portacots have been tested by an independent accredited laboratory and fully complied to the same mandatory and voluntary standards that Choice is referencing.”

Documents seen by The New Daily indicate that Choice is accredited with the National Association of Testing Authorities.

Ms Gilmour said outdated mandatory standards contributed to unsafe products remaining on the market.

“Newer voluntary standards incorporate important safety factors like breathable zones, but they still haven’t made it into law,” she said.

“While it’s pleasing to see more manufacturers meeting them, it’s still not mandatory to do so.”

“These safety failures are part of a broader problem around product safety protections. Governments often wait until tragedy strikes before they make safety standards mandatory.

“This reactive approach puts consumers at risk and is deeply inappropriate for products like portable cots.”

Choice urged consumers who had bought one of the unsafe cots to stop using it immediately, and to contact the retailer or manufacturer and ask for a full refund.

However, Choice said, the retailer was under no obligation to provide a refund, unless the cot had been officially recalled.

Topics: CHOICE
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