Recent tragic events in America led to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and New Orleans-based Ace Bayou Corporation executing a voluntary recall of more than two million refillable bean bag products.
The products involved feature zippers that children can open easily. Once the zipper is open, they can suffocate beneath the cover material, or accidentally inhale the polystyrene bean bag filler. Two children, ages 13 and three, died after opening zippers on Ace Bayou bean bags and crawling inside. An American voluntary consensus safety standard requires all non-refillable bean bags to have permanently closed and disabled zippers. The manufacturer in question apparently did not comply.
ACCC Safety Standards Review
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is currently reviewing mandatory safety standards; the completed report is due for release at any time.
After discovering some non-compliant infant cots that could have caused severe injury or death, the integrity of children’s products came under scrutiny by the ACCC.
A national review of safety standards for various types of infant furniture and accessories was soon launched.
It will be interesting to see if the recent U.S. fatalities prompt any changes to bean bag product safety standards in Australia or other countries.
The ACCC Product Safety Recalls page offers more information about Australia’s recalled children’s products.
Alert: Important Bean Bag Safety Tips
While authorities sort out changes in safety requirements for future products, consumers should be aware of the potential hazards inherent in children’s products they already have. Anyone owning bean bags of any brand or type should check their bean chair carefully, and ensure that zippers are secure and do not have handles or pull tabs. These devices could allow small children to enter the interior, or come into contact with the bean bag filler. Refillable bean bags with child-proof safety zippers do not pose any danger unless a user has left a paper clip or other opening device in place for convenience or in error.
It is essential that no device allowing a bean bag zipper to operate is accessible to children. A zipper that features a tab or handle, whether it is on the inner liner or outer cover, should be disabled immediately; in most cases, it is easy to remove the handle using pliers or tin-snips. Bean bag filler poses separate hazards. Bags of filler material should never be left unattended around children or pets. After filling bean bags, any loose beads or pellets should be removed from the floor and surrounding area with a vacuum cleaner.
Children’s Product Safety Assessment
Furniture is by no means the only threat. Toys, educational goods and children’s clothing items are often recalled for safety reasons. It is important for parents and caretakers to use their judgment to identify a product’s potential risks. Product types that commonly cause problems include the following.
- Cheap, imported toys that may contain lead-based paints or toxins
- Toys with small, removable parts that could present a choking hazard
- Toys that produce electric shock if mishandled
- Items containing small magnets that could be ingested
- Toys made with glass, ceramic or other breakable materials
- Toys with rechargeable batteries that may overheat
- Projectile toys
- Molded plastic toys with sharp or uneven seams
- Items made with soft materials like foam that could easily be bitten, chewed or swallowed
- Children’s jewellery
- Clothing with buttons or snaps that are not secure
Responsibility Saves Lives
The ACCC works hard to keep unsafe products from harming Australian children, but there is no substitute for parental supervision and knowledge. Keen observation and a commitment of time and effort are essential. Even with every precaution in place, product-related injuries and even life-threatening emergencies may occur due to accidental inhalation or ingestion of foreign objects, cuts and abrasions from sharp edges, falls, or electrical shock. To prevent emergencies from ending in tragedy, parents should obtain instruction on general first aid, CPR and proper use of the Heimlich maneuver in case of choking.
Buy from Companies that Put Safety First
At Bean Bags R Us, we enforce strict quality and safety standards on all of our adult and children’s bean bags. Our entire line of products features child-proof safety zippers that cannot be opened or closed without deliberate insertion of a paper clip. Every zipper is tested before our products reach the market. We strongly advise parents to remove paper clips after zipper use to ensure the safety of children and keep our products fun, practical and perfectly safe as we created them to be.