Nappy sacks – the flimsy, innocuous-looking little bags that we use to get rid of soiled nappies – have claimed the lives of 16 babies under the age of 12 months.
It’s such a simple and seemingly-harmless product, one that many parents wouldn’t give a second thought to, and yet it is responsible for the deaths of so many little ones.
Little ones like Maison Amison, was found in his cot by his parents with a sack across his face and nose. The bag of sacks had been left in a pocket of the changing stand, next to the cot. Maison had never stood up before, yet would have needed to have done so in order to reach them.
He wasn’t the first, or the last. His mother, Beth, said that she had forgotten about the sacks – a theme we hear again and again. It is their harmless-seeming nature that makes them so dangerous. Where a parent wouldn’t think twice about leaving a baby with a plastic bag, the same process doesn’t apply with a nappy sack.
We are working with people like Beth Amison to make sure that all parents of young children are aware of the danger posed, but a recent survey by the Trading Standards South East Group found a number of nappy sacks as not being adequately labelled with warnings. This is a shocking finding, considering the lack of current awareness and the deadly consequences this can have.
A positive meeting on Monday (April 3) resulted in bringing together retailers and health and safety professionals under one roof to discuss adequate labelling, as well as the development of safer products such as making them unscented, producing them on a roll instead as individual sheets, or the design of new packaging, and most importantly ensuring that they are adequately labelled with safety warnings.
The event also heard from another mother, Sam Brough, who lost her five-month-old daughter Harley in 2013 when a nappy sack was accidentally knocked into her cot. She is keen to raise awareness of the issue and ensure that everything is being done to prevent similar incidents in the future. Like Beth, RoSPA will be supporting her in this mission.
We are positive that the outcome of this meeting will go a long way towards developing a code of practice for their manufacture and labelling, protecting little lives and ensuring we see no more preventable deaths like Maison’s and Harley’s.
For more information on nappy sack safety, see www.rospa.com/campaigns-fundraising/current/nappy-sacks.
Sheila Merrill, public health adviser
Posted: 4/4/2017 10:09:27 AM