After reports of 16 babies choking to death of plastic nappy bags, the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents is now calling for new packaging and hazard labels on the products.
The RoSPA also wants the bags to be sold on perforated rolls, rather than as single sheets to make them harder for babies to grab, as well as having them made non-scented so tots do not mistake them for food.
In a statement, Sheila Merrill from the charity said: “We want to maximize public awareness of this serious risk to young lives and develop a code of practice for the manufacture and labeling of nappy sacks. ”
In 2013, 23-year-year Beth Amison from Staffordshire lost her seven-month-old son Maison when he somehow managed to pull a packet of nappy bags from his nearby changing table and into his cot.
“It was on March 7th that I went into Maison’s bedroom to wake him up – only it wasn’t his beautiful smile I was greeted with,” Amison explains to The Sun newspaper. “Instead Maison was lying in his cot with a handful of nappy sacks scattered around him and one was covering his face.”
The mum-of-two has since set up a Facebook page, Maison’s Memory, to warn other parents about the dangers of nappy sacks.
The motion to have nappy sacks clearly labeled with any risk they can pose comes after it was revealed that as many as 16 infants, aged one and under, have died from suffocation or choking in incidents involving nappy sacks.
After it was discovered that these were not isolated incidents across England and Wales, but all similar and directly related to the popular baby products, a survey by Trading Standards identified a number of nappy sacks that were not adequately labeled with warnings.
The RoSPA has now stepped in and wants to change this, warning: “The typical scenario associated with the deaths is that the sacks are stored within the baby’s reach, close to the baby’s cot – including under the mattress usually for convenience. In some of the cases, the nappy sacks had been left near to or in the cot for ease of changing the baby’s nappy in the night.”
The danger comes in form of the light, flimsy material these sacks are made from, making them easy for a baby to grasp automatically, and then, as babies do, instinctively bring to their mouths for exploration – which can lead to obstruction of the nose and mouth and even inhalation.
“Parents and carers are generally aware of the dangers posed by plastic bags, but do not make the same link to nappy sacks and so are less likely to take the same safety precautions,” the RoSPA warns.
“We can change this with adequate education and awareness, but we also want manufacturers to consider safety approaches such as making them unscented, producing them on a roll rather than as individual sheets, or new packaging.”