The Commission enforces compulsory standards for cots, baby walkers, children’s nightwear and toys for children 36 months and under. Traders must ensure their products meet the standards, but getting the safety message to consumers is an important task for the Commission.

“We felt this was exactly the right audience for our various product safety messages. We knew that every single person attending would be in our target market for these messages, and that made it an extremely cost-effective option for us,” said Carissa Baker, the Commission’s Manager of Intelligence, Advocacy and Enquiries.

Nearly 7,500 people attended the March 9 and 10 event at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland.

The Commission’s stall featured Commission videos, a cot and baby doll, baby walker, children’s nightwear and non-compliant toys. The centrepiece of the display was this poster:

Using the props, staff were able to answer visitor questions about why these products must meet the mandatory standards.

“Visitors were especially interested in the baby walker. We attached a note to it saying that Plunket advise against using baby walkers and that surprised a lot of people. We had some health professionals from Starship Hospital who told us about the injuries and development issues they had seen, which they related to the use of baby walkers,” said Commission principal investigator Catherine Butterworth who attended both days of the event.

“I think it’s been really worthwhile. I think people have been really grateful to know that we’re here and we’re actually looking out for consumers and for product safety in particular,” she said.

“We’re very happy with how this first attempt went, and we will be looking to attend other similar events in future,” said Ms Baker.