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Pregnancy & Birth

Parenting influencers are putting kids at risk with unsafe nursery designs

CHOICE warns the unsafe nursery trends to avoid.

By Rebel Wylie
Styling a nursery for the impending arrival of a new baby is an exciting time. You're inspired by an imagined future where everything is pastel-coloured and you're likely still basking in a sweet ignorance that only exists in that short period of time before you realise your kids are going to grow quickly and begin breaking all your stuff.
These days anyone can style an Insta-worthy stylish room. Everyday department stores have jumped on the stylish interior bandwagon being driven by parenting influencers, and are providing modern, stylish furnishings at a more affordable price than ever before.
However a report out of CHOICE on Friday claims that those very same parenting influencers are actually putting infant's lives at risk when they prioritise style over safety in the content they produce.
Speaking with Now To Love, CHOICE Editor, Margaret Rafferty says: "While it's natural to want your baby's room to be an attractive space, parents need to remember that a lot of the current trends in design might look pretty but are really terribly unsafe."
Canopies, soft toys, fairy lights, sheepskins and bunting are just some of the very cute looking and very, very dangerous decor items that are making a far too regular appearance in nurseries, and according to Rafferty parents need to seriously consider why they're adding them.
"Fairy lights may look lovely but they definitely don't belong on a baby's cot, however, if you search tags like #nurseryinspo on Instagram you won't have to scroll far to find multiple examples of cots draped with canopies and lights, decor elements that fly in the face of safe sleeping guidelines," she says.
CHOICE Editor Margaret Rafferty says: "Parents need to always remember that safety trumps style when it comes to decorating your baby's room." (Image: Supplied)
"Our CHOICE investigation found children's bedroom designs posted by a number of insta-parents contain a range of safety issues," says Rafferty.
"We've identified 12 common mistakes made by influencers sharing bedroom designs. These style gurus are putting kids at risk – while they're well meaning, design flair could lead to tragedy for your family.
"Doctors and CHOICE experts recommend auditing your baby's bedrooms for these common risks. Watch out for unsafe wall decorations, unsecured furniture and design features that could be a strangulation risk."
CHOICE reports that according to the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit (VISU), in the five-year period between 2013 and 2018, an average of 708 children under five years old presented at Victorian emergency departments each year, injured by nursery furniture.
Forty-one percent of these injuries happened in the first year of life.
Falls are the most common cause of injury and more than 75 percent of injuries are to the face, head or neck.
Statistics worth considering when you're choosing how to set up your nursery.
Dr Ruth Barker, a paediatrician and director of the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit, says children's unpredictable actions and rapidly developing abilities can easily catch parents out.
"It's important to create a space that is safe not only for their current abilities, but for the abilities they will develop over time," she says. "Parents need to anticipate and stay one jump ahead, because you don't want the first time they do something to be their last."
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Dr Ruth Barker, a paediatrician and director of the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit, says children's unpredictable actions and rapidly developing abilities can easily catch parents out.
"It's important to create a space that is safe not only for their current abilities, but for the abilities they will develop over time," she says. "Parents need to anticipate and stay one jump ahead, because you don't want the first time they do something to be their last."
Remember, a stylish room may look pretty, but the safety concerns far outweigh a high like-count on social media.

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