American Consumer Product Safety Commission tightens guidelines on cots

American regulations regarding cots have been tightened following a review. The new rules target manufacturers and retailers, meaning parents will be able to buy new cots, safe in the knowledge that they are as safe as can be. However, there are many second-hand cots out there that do not meet these guidelines.

Most people do not pay an enormous amount of attention to parenting news until they become parents themselves and even then, the first few months can see them rather preoccupied. If you are unaware of the reasons why some cots are considered safer than others, do not rely on a second-hand cot. Buy a new one as it will be guaranteed to meet UK safety standards.

Various different kinds are available, including co-sleeper cots. A co-sleeper cot will attach to your own bed, so that your baby is right nearby, but is also safe from being rolled on.

Your baby has their own space with a co-sleeper cot, but can easily be reached should they become distressed in the night. Use of one also allows a mother to breastfeed without having to get up. Furthermore, some types can be easily folded up and placed in a travel bag for transportation, allowing you to take the cot with you should you be going away.

Link found between size of foetuses and development of asthma

A research team from the University of Aberdeen has found that there is a link between the size of a foetus and later development of asthma. In a paper published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, they described how babies who were 10 per cent shorter than the average size at the 10-week stage of foetal development were five times as likely to develop the condition.

The study, which involved 1,500 pregnant women, also found links with the development of eczema and hayfever. Foetuses were measured at the 10- and 20-week stages and then a follow-up was carried out when the children were 10.

Dr Steve Turner, clinical senior lecturer at the University of Aberdeen’s department of child health, who led the study, said:

“Our main finding was that the shortest foetuses in the first trimester were at increased risk for persistent wheeze whereas the longest babies had better lung function at 10 years.

“We also found that changes in the expected growth rate were associated with altered risk for eczema and hayfever. In other words, initial foetal size and subsequent growth trajectory are important to respiratory and allergic outcomes in childhood.”

Often, children will grow out of asthma, but in the meantime, there are measures which can be taken, including the use of dehumidifiers and air purifiers. Many of these devices will operate very quietly and as they filter airborne particles – including pollen, dust, house dust mite waste and pet dander, all of which can be allergens – your child will be able to sleep more easily and will be less likely to suffer an asthma attack.

South Australia cracks down on unsafe cots

The actions of the South Australia state government have emphasised the importance of buying cots that meet health and safety standards. The state’s consumer affairs minister, Gail Gago, has ordered an audit of all cots available for sale in response to the fact that 18 children have died in cot-related incidents in South Australia since 2000.

Gago said:

“When I first saw that figure of 18 deaths, I was astounded. I thought it must have been a national figure but it’s not.”

The message was backed up by SIDS and Kids acting state manager, Maurissa Ailion, who said that parents should always ensure that cots and mattresses met safety standards.

“A lot of the time it is about not knowing, and not knowing what questions should be asked.”

All new cots sold in the UK should conform to BSEN716. This assures you that the cot is deep enough and that the bars are the correct distance apart. Furthermore, the cot will not have decorative cut-outs or steps, which can pose a danger.

If you have doubts about a second-hand cot that you have inherited, it is far better to buy a replacement. Even if the second-hand cot does meet today’s safety standards, without knowing that for definite you will lack the benefit of complete peace of mind.

NHS campaign encourages Norfolk mums to breastfeed

Britain’s breastfeeding rates are among the lowest in Europe. In Norfolk last year, while 75 per cent of new mothers breastfed their babies, by six to eight weeks, the proportion was down to 43 per cent receiving breast milk. Only 32 per cent of babies were being fed on breast milk only.

NHS Norfolk and NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney have responded to this by commencing a campaign with the slogan: “Breastmilk – every day counts, every feed counts, every drop counts”.

The joint director of public health for NHS Norfolk and Norfolk County Council, Dr Jenny Harries, emphasised the benefits:

“Research suggests that children who have been breastfed may have a reduced risk of contracting stomach bugs, chest infections, asthma, eczema, and suffering allergies. Also, children who are breastfed are thought to be less likely to be obese when they get older.

“Mothers benefit from developing a strong emotional bond with their child, can have a reduced risk of pre-menopausal breast and ovarian cancers, and are less likely to suffer hip fractures in later life.”

It is a persuasive argument, but many mothers struggle with breastfeeding for a number of reasons. Fortunately, there are a number of products available that can help make the process easier.

Disposable and reusable breast pads are available to combat leaking nipples and also to help with soreness. Nipple protectors are also available for the latter problem. Soft, odourless and taste-free, they are also shaped to allow skin contact with the baby, which means the milk supply continues to be stimulated. Moisturising cream is also available as a further measure.

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