As baby walkers allow children who cannot walk to move around faster and further and in different ways than they are able to on their own, children may get hurt when using one.
To reduce the risk of injury, all baby walkers must meet safety standards for design, construction and performance, and pass safety tests. They must also be labelled with warnings about how to use them safely.
What is the product safety standard for baby walkers?
The Product Safety Standards (Baby Walkers) Regulations 2001 (Regulations) set sections of American standard
ASTM F977-03 Consumer Safety Specification for Infant Walkers as the official product safety standard that suppliers of all new and second-hand baby walkers supplied in New Zealand must comply with.
What are the rules?
A baby walker is defined in the Regulations as a device that:
consists of a frame on wheels designed to support, inside the frame and with the child's feet touching the ground, a child who has not learned to walk
is propelled by the movement of the child.
A baby walker must:
meet general requirements for latches and locking mechanisms, openings, exposed springs and protective components
meet performance tests for stability, structural integrity and preventing the baby from falling down steps
meet structural integrity and stability tests for loads, locking mechanisms, rear tipping resistance and whether the baby walker remains stable when a baby leans over its edge – it must pass tests to show it can withstand a force before tipping over when it is against an immovable object, and that it can remain upright when forces are applied forwards and sidewards
carry warning information - it must carry written permanent warnings about its safe use.
This list does not cover all the requirements of the Regulations, nor does it cover any of the requirements in detail. Further details are available from the Standards NZ website.
Who do the rules apply to?
If you supply, offer to supply or advertise to supply new or second-hand baby walkers, you must comply with the product safety standard.
This includes the sale of baby walkers:
at a shop
at a garage sale
at a market
Offering baby walkers for lease, rent or as a gift is also considered an "offer to supply".
Who is responsible for making sure the baby walkers I supply are safe?
It is your responsibility to ensure the baby walkers you supply are safe. You should not assume the baby walker complies with the product safety standard simply because a supplier has offered to supply it to you. If you have any concern about the safety of the baby walkers you have for sale, do not sell them.
Confirm first with your supplier that the bicycles comply with the product safety standard. The best way to prove this is for your supplier to provide you with a copy of independent test results. You can also arrange your own testing.
If you sell a non-compliant baby walker, it could place a child at risk of injury. You will also have breached the Fair Trading Act. It is an offence under section 30 of the Fair Trading Act to supply, offer to supply or advertise to supply baby walkers that do not comply.
We enforce the Fair Trading Act, and may take a prosecution against you in Court if you breach the standard. Companies can be fined up to $600,000 for each breach of the Act. Individuals can be fined up to $200,000.
You may also have to conduct a recall of any baby walkers that you supply which do not comply with the standard and the regulations. Information on carrying out a product recall is available from the Consumer Protection website.
The product safety standards are set by Standards NZ or equivalent overseas agencies. You can purchase a copy of any of the standards from Standards New Zealand by calling 0800 782 632 or visit www.standards.govt.nz.
You can access the Regulations and the Fair Trading Act online at the government’s legislation website www.legislation.govt.nz. The information on this website is free.