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Baby City sentenced for two non-compliant cots

20 January 2017

Baby City Retail Investments Limited (Baby City) has been fined $39,000 in the Auckland District Court for six charges relating to selling cots which failed to comply with the packaging and labelling requirements of the safety standard for household cots (Safety Standard).

The Safety Standard, which is enforced by the Commission under the Fair Trading Act 1986, aims to reduce the risk of injury or death to babies and infants from using unsafe cots.

Baby City has also agreed to enforceable undertakings with the Commission to carry out a series of testing and quality control procedures designed to ensure that all household cots Baby City supplies comply with the Safety Standard.

All charges relate to two models of Baby City’s household cots (Milano 3-in-1 Sleigh style cot (Sleigh Cot) and Milano Phoenix cot (Phoenix Cot)) sold between October 2014 and October 2015. In January 2016 Baby City issued a product safety notice for the cots to provide customers with an instruction booklet to repair defects and a new information leaflet for the cots. It had not received any reports of injury or harm due to either cot.

Both the Sleigh and Phoenix Cots had packaging, leaflet labelling and mattress base marking that did not comply with the Safety Standard.

Competition General Manager Antonia Horrocks said, “Buying a cot can be a daunting experience for any parent or caregiver. It is extremely important they receive all the information they need to ensure their cots are assembled correctly, maintained adequately and safe for the baby or toddler to use.”

“In this case the information leaflets for both cots were missing important safety information. This included the need to place the cot a reasonable distance from power points, and an incomplete warning on the necessary mattress size.”

The cot leaflets failed to inform users that the recommended mattress size is designed to minimise the risk of a child’s limb being caught between the mattress and the sides of the cot, and the risk of a child climbing or falling out of the cot.

The Commission also found there were non-compliant mattress base markings as they must carry information about the cot’s manufacture, recommended mattress size and safety warnings. In addition, the swing tag labelling did not include the manufacturer’s name and contact address.   

Ms Horrocks says that this case should remind traders - retailers and distributors – of their obligations when supplying products that are subject to safety standards.

“Businesses must have the correct procedures in place to ensure their products comply with the appropriate safety standard and that they are routinely tested. This includes retesting to confirm their cots meet the relevant standard every time the manufacturing specifications change or if a problem arises,” Ms Horrocks said.

Background

The product safety standard for household cots as adopted in part under the Product Safety Standards (Household Cots) Regulations 2005 that is enforced by the Commission sets out requirements and tests for materials, design, construction, performance and labelling of cots. Read more about all the safety standards enforced by the Commission.

You can read a copy of the enforceable undertakings reached with Baby City on our Enforcement Response Register.

In January 2016 Baby City issued a product safety notice for the Sleigh and Phoenix Cots which you can see on its website.

Baby City operates 15 stores across New Zealand and sells online through its website www.babycity.co.nz.