Recent research by CHOICE has found that shocking number of unsafe products, including countless baby and kids' products such as toys and bassinets are being sold to unsuspecting Australian families, and the consumer advocate says enough is enough.
A public statement by CHOICE on Friday has slammed Australia's product safety laws as "shamefully weak" and they are calling on the Federal Government to stem the flow of unsafe products reaching Australian homes.
"Weak product safety laws harm people," says CHOICE product safety campaigner Amy Pereira.
"Each year, there are around 780 deaths and around 52,000 injuries caused by unsafe products. Without stronger product safety laws, these unnecessary deaths and injuries will continue."
You would imagine that over time, products would become more safe. However, analysis by CHOICE has found that product safety recall numbers have tripled since 1998.
"That's millions of unsafe products that should have been stopped before they got to shelves, now in people's homes," says Pereira. "Businesses selling products in Australia have no general obligation to make sure the products they sell are safe. We need new laws that require basic and sensible safety checks for products before they make it into our homes."
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Parents might be alarmed to realise that there's no Australian safety standard for bassinets. When CHOICE recently conducted their own tests in order to make recommendations to Australian families, they found that 24 out of 33 bassinets failed on key safety requirements, including bassinets from Pottery Barn Kids, Kmart and Baby Bjorn.
"We look at things like whether the bassinet has sufficient breathable zones to prevent suffocation, that there are no entrapment hazards, and no materials or objects that can come loose and cause an injury," says Kim Gilmour, CHOICE's baby product expert.
"We also assess how sturdy the construction is and whether the bassinet is at a sufficient depth to prevent a fall if an older baby leans or crawls on the sides," she says.
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A CHOICE survey that found 93 percent of the population mistakenly believes they're protected from unsafe products under the law, which is unfortunately, not the case.
"Australians are in the dark when it comes to product safety" says Pereira.
"Unfortunately our trust is misplaced, and as product recalls continue to skyrocket in Australia, the community is unaware of how little manufacturers have to do before putting products on shelves."
The Federal Government will consider the recommendations arising out of Treasury's consultation.
"Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar has the opportunity to make Australians safer with a General Safety Provision. We need new legal protections to make companies check to see if products are safe before they go on sale. Stronger safety laws work around the world; it's time for Australia to catch up."
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