Babies at risk because of lockdown rules

The UK’s trade association for the nursery industry – the Baby Products Association – has raised serious concerns about the safety of babies following the announcement of a third COVID lockdown.

Under the latest government measures, whilst stores selling pet products are allowed to remain open, nursery retailers providing essential baby equipment are not.

It is always recommended that child car seats, which are legally required from birth, should be purchased from bricks and mortar retailers rather than online, as they can advise the suitability of particular car seats for a make and model of vehicle; what type of seat would best fit the child’s age and size; and importantly, demonstrate how to fit the seat correctly. 

With a report by the Department for Transport showing that 2,692 children were killed or seriously injured in car collisions in 2019; and that almost 80% of child car seats stopped and checked by professionals were either unfit for use or incorrectly installed, the fact that parents and carers of young children cannot receive essential advice to protect their children is extremely concerning. In addition, whilst child car seats are a major concern; babies are being born every day and parents need help and support in choosing essential items such as cots, sleep and safety equipment to ensure the health and well-being of their child. 

Robert Anslow, managing director of the Baby Products Association, explains: “A child car seat is only effective in protecting children when fitted correctly in a vehicle. It is a legal requirement for a new baby to be transported in a car seat from the very day it leaves hospital – and yet parents with no knowledge or experience of which products are best for their vehicle and how it should be fitted correctly are being left alone to make what could potentially be a life-threatening decision.

“As a trade association, we are flabbergasted to understand how the government can place the importance of purchasing pet products over and above the safety of babies and young children. Since the onset of the first COVID lockdown in spring 2020 we have been lobbying the relevant government departments responsible for Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 as amended on 6th January 2021 by Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 3) and (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021. We have also been in contact with Trading Standards and Thames Valley Police. We will continue to report on our progress.”

In the meantime, a government petition to change the rules for essential nursery stores to open has recently been raised by Megan Elliott of Bababoom and the Baby Products Association team has signed this and encourages anyone concerned with child safety during COVID to follow suit.

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