Baby bling warning: sparkly items pose health risk to youngsters
PARENTS are being warned that the craze for “bling” baby products, such as dummies encrusted with sparkly gems, could pose a choking hazard to babies and young toddlers.
Trading standards officers issued an alert following a complaint from a member of the public. The recent fad involves customising babies’ dummies, dummy clips, bottles, feeding equipment, shoes and sunglasses with small brightly covered imitation gems, beads and magnets.
Officials from the City of Edinburgh Council, said the gems can easily come loose and be swallowed, inhaled or lodged in a child’s throat. A further hidden danger is that the glue used to attach the gems can soften when the item is sterilised and may also be toxic.
It is believed the accessorised items are being made by people working from home, who may not be aware of the strict safety rules governing children’s goods.
The basic items for baby “bling” accessories are mostly bought from reputable high street stores or online before being decorated by people working at home.
What started as a cottage industry, with goods being sold to family and friends, has spread with items being sold from online social networking and auction sites.
The products have been spotted on sale across many parts of Scotland. In May, trading officers in Fife caught two online “bling” dummy traders. Anyone prosecuted for selling the adorned dummies or bottles could face fines of up to £20,000.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, the council’s environment convener, said: “Our advice to parents is not to use any of these so-called ‘bling’ items as they could harm your baby or toddler.
“We would also advise anyone who is producing these items from their own home to stop doing so as they are unsafe and do not comply with strict safety regulations.”
Siobhan Freegard, founder of Netmums, a UK advice website for parents, said: “While the trend for baby bling may look pretty, it could be deadly for your child.
“Items like baby bottles and dummies are carefully designed to be functional and safe to use. They are not fashion items, so any parents decorating them with crystals or beads could be putting their baby’s life at risk.
“When it comes to kids, no-one should put style over safety, so we urge all parents not to buy these items.”
Robert Anslow, managing director of the Baby Products Association, which represents manufacturers, suppliers and importers of baby products in the UK, said: “These baby soothers and sometimes baby feeding bottles are manufactured in accordance with the highest safety standards, but are then being adorned with glued-on gems and beads by third-party companies.
“While it may be tempting to purchase these products, particularly as they appeal to babies and toddlers, there are strict safety standards which prevent labels and decorations being stuck onto dummies.”
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