Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 417. Updated Tuesday, 08 July 2014

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New safety tool for families

A free do-it-yourself 'Choke Check' safety tool to help parents detect choking hazards for babies and toddlers has been released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Deputy Chair of ACCC, Delia Rickard said children up to 36 months old were especially vulnerable to choking and ingestion hazards from a range of common objects found in and outside the home.

"They naturally explore things by putting them in their mouths - as their coughing reflexes are underdeveloped, objects can get easily lodged in their throat and choke or suffocate them," Ms Rickard said.

"If swallowed, these objects can cause internal blockages."

She said the ACCC was encouraging parents to print out and make the Choke Check at home to help determine which objects might pose hazards.

ACCC tackles choking hazards

Ms Rickard said the completed Choke Check was cylinder-shaped and worked by mimicking the size and shape of a child's throat (up to the age of 36 months).

"If an object fits completely inside the cylinder, it could get stuck down a curious baby's throat or be swallowed, so keep it out of their reach," she said.

"Be especially vigilant about toys - small parts can easily detach and present a choking risk. Also keep in mind age-appropriateness - some toys that designed for older children may present a choking risk for babies and toddlers."

Ms Rickard said as well as the Choke Check safety tool parents, carers and expectant parents could find safety information on more than 30 different child and nursery products plus removing hazards around the home in the ACCC's free Keeping Baby Safe guide, available at this PS News link.

Consumers can get the Choke Check PDF and instructions at this PS News link.

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