Safetots Safety Advice

  •  
  •  

Stair Gates

Once your baby starts to become mobile, ensuring they can only crawl and toddle within safe areas of your home becomes a priority. Your inquisitive little ones will appear to have an inbuilt sat nav directing them to all the high-risk places such as kitchens and stairwells or maybe through the cat flap to explore the great outdoors! Even the most alert and hands on parent/carer will at times need to attend to more than one thing at once, and times of distraction are often when accidents happen in the home.

A safety gate provides the ideal solution by creating a protective barrier between child and potential hazards, whilst still giving the space to learn through exploration of the remaining child friendly environment. They allow the adult to continue to pay attention to their child when they also need to carry out a task at the same time as supervising, by reducing the risk of harm or accident. For example, a parent can be cooking in the kitchen and singing nursery rhymes, whilst their child is joining in on the other side of the safety barrier out of reach of hot stoves, sharp knives and the odd dropped chilli pepper.

It is worth planning the positioning of your baby safety gate well in advance of needing it. In this way, you can carry out thorough research on the type of gate that best suits the chosen location, match it to your décor even, and install it before your baby crawls. This gives family and visitors time to practice using it because it is notable that many accidents involving safety barriers are due to the user not ensuring the gate is properly closed. This is also the ideal opportunity to include any older siblings in the care of their little brother or sister by educating them on how to operate the gate safely and the importance of keeping the gate shut. Some gates have a colour indicator which shows green or red, depending on whether the gate has been shut properly – a simple feature which assists children as well as adults to operate the gate safely.

Most families opt to purchase at least 2 stair gates, and this is to protect their child from falling down the stairs. Safetots would only ever recommend a screw fit gate at the top of the stairwell with the door opening away from the stair treads. No other type of gate provides the same level of security on impact should your toddler accidentally run into it during a fun game of chase for example. These gates are secured into position using screw fixings into a wall or woodwork and have no trip bar at the base when the door is opened. As there is no danger of falling at the bottom of the stairs and the gate’s purpose here is to stop a child climbing up the treads, the gate chosen for this position may be any style including pressure fit gates which do not require a permanent fixing.

When installing a gate on a staircase make sure that surfaces for any assembly fixings are secure and in good repair. General stair safety would include repair of unstable bannister rails or spindles and ensuring any floor coverings are in good condition, non-slip and clutter free. If your staircase has spindles, it is advisable to think about the size of gap in between them and whether your child could squeeze through – many parents or carers choose to board them in during these early years as an extra precaution. As your crawler develops into a toddler, start to teach them how to walk up and down the stairs in a safe manner – safe would include using a bannister rail if there is one, walking slowly and holding an adult’s hand, and not carrying anything in their hands. As an adult, remember to use the stairs in this way as your child will learn through observation, and when carrying a child on a stairwell, always have one hand on a bannister rail or secure surface to help avoid tripping.

Common areas to position further gates would be entrances to kitchens and other rooms with heat sources such as an open fire or log burner. Some people select gates with an optional stay open feature for lounge areas as this doorway tends to be a high traffic area, whilst gates with an auto close feature are very suited to kitchens which most parents/carers would wish to permanently restrict access to. Many families also choose to place a safety barrier across the doorway of the child’s bedroom to create a safe space for them whilst baths are being run or nap time is being taken for instance. Retractable gates are a popular choice here as they can be neatly tucked away when not in use.

Having selected the right safety gate for your needs, there are some general safety aspects to consider.

Important Information

The safety standard EN1930:2011 gives the following important warnings:

“WARNING – Read the instructions before installation as incorrect installation can be dangerous”.

“WARNING – This safety barrier must not be fitted across windows”.

In addition, if the safety barrier requires wall cups (pressure fitted gates): WARNING – Never use without wall cups.

Children’s safety barriers are designed and tested for domestic use only, being suitable for children up to the age of 24 months.

Fit your gate in a strong and secure opening and ensure the surfaces are dry, solid and clean. Safetots recommends the use of appropriate types of fixings depending on the surface available: wooden screws for wooden surface, multi-use plug and concrete screw for concrete surface, plasterboard wall plug and screw for plasterboard surface, metal screw for metal surface

Safetots recommends that the space around the gate’s location is checked for anything which could be used to assist climbing; nappy boxes make great steps for example and your tot will quickly get them stacked against the gate ready for their grand adventure. As tempting as it may be to dangle and tie toys to the bars of the safety barrier to stimulate play, these pose strangulation and entrapment dangers, and nothing should ever be attached to the gates that is not part of the assembly fittings. Finally, even the most securely installed gate is going to take some bashing in the general course of home life. Safetots recommends that all gates installed, and surrounding surfaces, are routinely checked for any damage, loose fittings, and that the open/close mechanism is sound. Damaged gates should be replaced.

All Safetots’ safety barriers designed for children up to the age of 24 months have been tested and comply with the safety standard EN 1930:2011 when fitted in accordance with the instructions.

Safety Testing for Stair Gates

When buying a product to help keep your child out of harm’s way, Safetots believe it is worth investing in one that has been tested to a professionally approved level of safety using rigorous testing methods.

For this reason and where applicable, our products are tested to a British Standards Institution (BSI) standard and/or equivalent international standard. Each standard that our products complies with has been drawn up by a group of experts in the field. Not only do they have extensive knowledge about their product and credibility in the child safety product industry, they are also fully aware of the potential hazards posed by poor quality items being used in the home where children are involved.

The British and European Standard for safety barriers is BS EN 1930:2011. You can be reassured that all Safetots’ safety gates designed for use with babies and toddlers up to age 2 comply with this standard and are retested whenever design upgrades are made, or components changed.

The title of the safety standard, EN 1930:2011 will be marked on your purchased safety barrier next to Safetots’ contact details.

What types of tests are carried out and why?

The tests carried out are designed to mimic the actions of a small child exploring a gate and its surroundings. For example, a child left to explore would attempt to climb over, through or under it, stick their fingers, arms, legs, head and toys through it, push and pull it very vigorously. Budding musicians will give it a good bash with anything to hand to make a great noise and next generation’s engineers will focus on prying apart the opening mechanism. Some children will use it as a teething aid by biting or mouthing it and all would probably love to hang onto the swinging part of the gate for a ride if given the opportunity.

The standard includes tests to check for parts of the gate which could be used as a foothold to assist climbing, finger and limb entrapment risks and stability of the gate when rattled for a lengthy period. The resilience of the opening/closing mechanism is tested, as is the durability of any paints or varnishes that the barrier has been coated in (and the safety of the chemicals within these). In short, every effort has been made to ensure that a gate complying with EN 1930:2011 will be a safe and hazard free product.

 

 

Fire Guards

Protecting your family, pets and home from the risks of open fires, log burners, multi fuel burners, gas and electric fire appliances is a key consideration, particularly as the weather gets colder and we turn the heating up.

The choices of barriers available may seem rather confusing. There are many different labels applied to such products in the industry including nursery guard, fire screen, spark guards, surrounds and fireguards to name a few.

To keep it simple, Safetots only use the terms fire surround and fireguard.

Our fire surrounds are fixed to a wall or similar surface that restricts access to heat appliances by enclosing them on all vertical sides. They are made from metal or wood, available in different colours and are constructed using vertical poles.  As such, many families find these an aesthetically pleasing solution to enclosing a fire.

Our Fireguards provide protection from all sides (vertical and horizontal) as they have an additional top mesh surface to prevent falls from above or items potentially being dropped close enough to the heat source to catch fire. All fireguards must be constructed with metal mesh and do not covert to other domestic uses. These are tested to the safety standard BS 8423:2010, the recognised standard for fireguards for domestic use.

It is worth noting that neither a fireguard nor a fire surround is intended to reduce the risk of fires caused by flying particles from the heat source. Always store the matches or other means of lighting this type of fire out of children’s reach and fit and routinely test a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. It is never advisable to leave a small child unattended.

 

 

Bed Guards

How to Choose the Correct Bed Guard

Make sure the bed guard is a minimum of 50cm less in length than your mattress, leaving 25cm space at the top and bottom of the mattress to avoid potential strangulation issues. Make sure the bed guard is at least 16cm taller than the height of the mattress to avoid any issues with rolling over the top of the bed rail.

The transition from cot bed to a bed without enclosed sides is one of the many developmental milestones your child will achieve. At this stage which occurs somewhere towards the age of 18 months, your toddler is likely to be attempting to climb over the cot sides, making this type of bed no longer a safe option. Whilst a standard bed is the next step, there remains a risk of falling from a height, particularly during sleep should your child roll and wriggle towards the edge. A bedguard is a popular solution to prevent your sleeping tot going bump in the night, whilst giving them the freedom to get out of bed unassisted. The design provides a barrier along the exposed edge of the mattress with gaps at either end so that the child can safely get in and out of bed independently. Should the bed be positioned away from walls and have two exposed sides, a second bed guard may be safely secured to the other side. In addition, a bed rail retains the safe familiarity of cot sides which will help many children adapt to the change and supports restful sleep.

Providing your curious toddler with the freedom to leave their bed when adults may be sleeping requires some safety planning. Many families decide that a safety gate across the bedroom door will provide an early warning system that their child is awake and ready to start their day, giving tired parents and carers an extra couple of minutes to wake up themselves! More importantly, the stair gate will restrict exploration to their bedroom, keeping inquisitive tots away from toiletries in bathrooms or hazards in other rooms such as older siblings’ toys or small items which could be a choking hazard or similar.

Child specific bedrails are recommended up to age 5 as they are designed and tested to support a certain maximum weight. Your child is likely to have learnt the art of sleeping away from the edge by this age, but also may be capable of undoing any bedrail fixing and becoming heavier than the tested weight, thereby creating a potential hazard greater than falling onto the floor. Important Information Children’s bedguards are designed and tested for domestic use only, being suitable for children aged between 18 months and 5 years. They are not designed for use with the elderly or infirm adults. The type of mattress and bedframe the bedrail will be attached to is as important as the bedrail itself from a safety perspective. Any gap between the rail and attaching surface could become an entrapment hazard. For this reason, select a quality mattress for your child which does not easily compress at the edges when a child equivalent weight is applied.

Always select a mattress which fits the bedframe i.e. one that leaves no gaps a small child could roll into between the base and material. Consider the thickness of the mattress in relation to the bedrail options - mattress depth will affect the height of the bed rail above the sleeping surface and any potential for your child to roll over the top of it and onto the floor. For this reason, include any mattress topper in the mattress depth measurement. The length of mattress will vary according to bedframe with king/super king mattresses being longer than others. The size of gap at either end of the bed has potential to be large enough for a sleeping child to roll through if an ill-fitting guard is chosen. Reassuringly, there are bedguards to suit the above scenarios in the Safetots’ range. The extra wide extra tall bedguards will complement the longer and deeper mattresses.

All Safetots’ bedrails provide the maximum mattress depths and lengths in the product spec information to make it easier for our customers to select one that is compatible with their child’s bed. A minimum mattress length is also supplied to make certain that there is at least a 25cm gap either end of the bed as recommended by the British Standards Institution (a measurement deemed wide enough for the child to safely leave the bed without being tempted to climb over the rail). Inflatable mattresses are to be avoided in conjunction with a bedguard as these can easily be punctured and deflate. Bedguards are not suitable for waterbeds for obvious reasons or camping beds where there is only a canvas sleeping surface attached to a metal frame. Nor is it safe to use them on the upper level of a bunk bed as a fall from this height is life threatening.

Safetots also recommend against using bedguards on the lower bunk bed level. Many children find bunk beds the indoor equivalent of a climbing frame and a serious accident may occur should a child use the rail as a foothold or spring board when climbing on and off the top bunk. Play of this nature may also compromise the stability of the fixings or fatigue the components making it unsafe for its purpose. As tempting as it may be to tie teddies and similar to the bedrail to create a sleepy environment, these pose strangulation and entrapment dangers, and nothing should ever be attached to the bedguard that is not part of the fittings.

 

 

Safety Testing for Bed Guards

All Safetots’ bedguards have been tested and comply with the British Standard 7972:2001+A1:2009 when fitted in accordance with the instructions. Safety Testing When buying a product to help keep your child out of harm’s way, Safetots believe it is worth investing in one that has been tested to a professionally approved level of safety using rigorous testing methods. For this reason and where applicable, our products are tested to a British Standards Institution (BSI) standard and/or equivalent international standard. Each standard that our products complies with has been drawn up by a group of experts in the field. Not only do they have extensive knowledge about their product and credibility in the child safety product industry, they are also fully aware of the potential hazards posed by poor quality items being used in the home where children are involved.

The British Standard for bedguards is BS 7972:2001+A1:2009. You can be reassured that all Safetots’ bedguards designed for use with toddlers (18 months+) and children up to age 5 comply with this standard, and are retested whenever design upgrades are made, components changed or the standard is superseded. The standard also requires that certain important safety information be available to consumers before purchase and you will find this on all product pages. The title of the British Standard, BS 7972:2001+A1:2009, will be marked on your purchased rail next to Safetots’ contact details What types of tests are carried out and why?   The tests carried out are designed to mimic the actions of a small child before they fall asleep, natural movements during sleep and once awake, how they may explore their bed and surroundings. For example, bedtime hijinks almost always include bouncing on the mattress and attempting to escape the bed itself by any means available, including climbing over, around or under a bed rail. Your little night owl may also wish to show their objection to bedtime by trying to pull everything off the bed including the rail – an overtired tot is a strong one! During sleep, many children will wriggle around, even turning 360 and sleeping at the foot of the bed. In this manner they will at times unknowingly move to the edge where the mattress and bedguard meet.

The standard includes tests to check for parts of the bedrail which could trap, pinch or cut skin and that the size of parts used do not pose a risk of inhalation or ingestion. The resilience of the locking mechanism that fits the guard securely onto the mattress or bed frame is examined for durability. A priority is ensuring there are no entrapment hazards, and this is achieved by measuring the gap between the bedguard and any touchpoint when fitted correctly. A test dummy is used to imitate a child rolling into the rail repeatedly to assist with this test.

In short, every effort has been made to ensure that a bedrail complying with BS 7972:2001+A1:2009 will be a hazard free product to purchase when safety proofing your home.

 

 

High Chairs

The arrival of your child’s high chair represents the beginning of civilised family meal times for many years to come. Well, to be more truthful, perhaps a few years of scraping food off the floor and walls, coupled with some table manner etiquette, before you get there!

The purpose of a high chair is to provide a safe and secure place for your developing baby to learn how to feed themselves in the presence and care of parent or adult attendant. It means that the adult can sit with the child and enjoy being part of their food discovery experience whist developing their bond with the growing toddler at the same time.

When considering where to locate your highchair, ensure that the floor surface is level and that the chair is positioned away from any trailing wires or window furnishings which could be grasped or entrap your child. Location near a heat source such as an oven or fire is also to be avoided. There should be nothing the child can use to push their feet or arms against which may assist an attempt to unbalance the chair. Equally, remember to remove any items that your child will be tempted to reach for if in their line of sight when in the high chair, such as their favourite toy or your mobile phone. When not in use, chairs should either be folded and stored, or removed from the child’s play space. This is to reinforce the message that the highchair is for meal times only and educating your child that the chair is only for meals and not for play right from the start is key to their safety.

Whilst pets can be a useful alternative to a vacuum while your toddler learns the art of fine dining, remember to keep them away from the chair while your little one is seated. An enthusiastic Labrador, for example, may easily knock a chair over, and they are best kept on the other side of a safety barrier or stairgate until meal time is over.

Some high chairs have wheels for ease of transport within the home and these should have a locking mechanism to fix their position when in use. Others may have seat and footrest height options so that the chair may continue to be used as the child grows. Trays may be removeable or integral and the chair may provide an optional padded seat. Only use accessories that are designed for the specific make and model of chair purchased as the safety of the chair may be compromised with an ill-fitting alternative.

 

Important Information

When it comes to high chairs, two of the main risks are that your child falls from a height onto a hard floor or that they get caught in the restraint system. A large proportion of accidents involving high chairs are due to the parent/carer becoming distracted and leaving the child unsupervised. Remember to never leave your child unattended. Accidents are also caused when the child stands in the chair because any restraint system has not been secured snugly and they have managed to wriggle out.

A high chair is only suitable from when your baby is able to sit up unaided and must always be used with the restraint system properly secured and adjusted to fit your child. A five-point-harness provides the most secure restraint system. In any event, there should be a crotch restraint to ensure the child cannot slip between tray and seat onto the floor.

A high chair is suitable up to the age of 3 or a weight of 15kg (whichever is sooner). After this time, a high chair that adapts to a junior chair or a similar alternative is more appropriate. All Safetots’ high chairs have been tested and comply with the safety standard EN14988:2017+A1:2020 when fitted in accordance with the instructions

 

Safety Testing

When buying a product to help keep your child out of harm’s way, Safetots believe it is worth investing in one that has been tested to a professionally approved level of safety using rigorous testing methods.

For this reason and where applicable, our products are tested to a British Standards Institution (BSI) standard and/or equivalent international standard. Each standard that our products complies with has been drawn up by a group of experts in the field. Not only do they have extensive knowledge about their product and credibility in the child safety product industry, they are also fully aware of the potential hazards posed by poor quality items being used in the home where children are involved.

The European Standard for high chairs is EN 14988:2017+A1:2020. You can be reassured that all Safetots’ highchairs designed for use with babies, toddlers and children up to 3 years of age, or a maximum weight of 15kg, comply with this standard, and are retested whenever design upgrades are made, components changed or the standard is superseded. The standard also requires that certain important safety information be available to consumers before purchase and you will find this on all product pages.

The title of the safety standard, EN14988:2017+A1:2020, will be marked on your purchased chair next to Safetots’ contact details.

 

What types of tests are carried out and why?

Most children when they are placed in a high chair are hungry ones- this generally means that anything not fixed down and in reach is going in that mouth, including yesterday’s snacks if still stuck to the underneath of the seat, the chair itself or even the seat padding! Tots are not known for their patience, so expect some banging, crashing, leg kicking and generally excitable expressions of ‘feed me now’. In fact, if food isn’t on that tray within a nanosecond (or worse, it doesn’t sit well with your future chef’s tastebuds), expect your child to attempt escape from the restraint system so they can help whip up something tasty from the kitchen cupboards.

The standard has considered the ‘hangry’ youngster within the testing parameters. The safety of the paints and varnishes used on the chair are ascertained. The durability of any locking mechanisms are tested to ensure a foldable high chair will not unintentionally fold or one with a multi seat height option will not inadvertently release from its height position, and castor wheels (if any) remain locked no matter how strong and long the protest. The standard tests for the presence of small parts which could pose a choking hazard and for any gaps which could trap limbs, fingers, etc. The stability of the highchair is proven against impact from various angles and the restraint system undergoes an extensive series of tests to certify its secure attachment to the chair, the strength of the materials used and that the straps will remain secured without slippage when in use.

In short, every effort has been made to ensure that a high chair complying with EN14988:2017+A1:2020 will be a hazard free product to purchase when safety proofing your home.

 

 

Play Pens

Most parents and carers will be familiar with the following scene – your home delivery arrives at the door in the midst of your toddler’s carefree rearrangement of everything in the lounge. Whilst you have a safety gate to stop them getting near the front door or stairs, how do you leave them in an overturned room long enough to bring the groceries or other shopping in?

This is where a playden really comes into its own as a very convenient safe space to place your crawling baby or younger busy toddler when life throws some multi-tasking challenge your way. Equally, some days there are just times when you need to sit down and have a moment for yourself. Play dens provide that opportunity to continue being part of your child’s playtime without having to chase them round the home, giving you a chance to recharge your batteries and them a chance to experience independent learning.

The play den has no integral base. This can be a great feature when using the playden outdoors for example, allowing your child to explore the grass under their toes or even different textured floor surfaces inside the home too. If you are looking for something with an integral base, our playpens may provide the solution. Please see our Safety Information on our Playpen pages for further information of the testing we apply to Play Pen products.

Playdens should be placed on a level floor surface away from dangling wires, heat sources or items which could be pulled into the den and used to assist them in climbing out – sofa cushions or throws would be examples which are easy to lift in and could be stood on to make climbing out easier. Consider the size of the toys placed in the playden with your child for this same reason; keep them small and limit the number so they cannot be stacked to create height. Books are frequently used by toddlers to reach toys out of reach so only provide a couple in the playden. If you have a sleepy dormouse of a tot who crashes out mid play, never place pillows or blankets in the playden with them as they could get wedged between these and the playden and suffocate – if they are asleep, they’re comfortably warm already. The most suitable place for routine nap time will always be their own bed.

 

 

Important Information

All Safetots’ play dens are designed for children up to the age of 2 years.

If there are older siblings, check that they have not generously left one of their own toys in the playden for their little brother or sister to play with before you place your tot inside. These toys may not be suitable for this younger age group and could cause a serious accident.

Avoid tying toys to the frame as these pose a strangulation hazard. Do not be tempted to create a makeshift base for your playden as this may become a suffocation or entrapment hazard. Only accessories designed for your specific model of den should be used and this include extension pieces to expand the den as your baby grows or maybe for when friends come for a play date. Once your toddler can climb out it is time to stop using the playden, even if this is before they are 24 months old. Do not allow your little one or other children to swing on the opening part when an adult is operating the gate panel.

 

 

Safety Testing

When buying a product to help keep your child out of harm’s way, Safetots believe it is worth investing in one that has been tested to a professionally approved level of safety using rigorous testing methods.

For this reason and where applicable, our products are tested to a British Standards Institution (BSI) standard and/or equivalent international standard. Each standard that our products complies with has been drawn up by a group of experts in the field. Not only do they have extensive knowledge about their product and credibility in the child safety product industry, they are also fully aware of the potential hazards posed by poor quality items being used in the home where children are involved.

Top