September is Baby Safety Month and this became more pertinent when I read recently that a baby brand had to recall one of their products due to a choking hazard caused by a flower decoration where the petals were coming off and several babies were found gagging on them.
This led me to remember what I had to think about when I started SnoozeShade as I am proud to say that I design with safety first and looks second. I want my products to do their job in the safest way possible…
Manufacturing a baby product is a MASSIVE responsibility. When I started out my first questions as I designed SnoozeShade Original were all about safety and how could I ensure it was as safe as it could be? As a mum, I would never forgive myself if I had brought an unsafe product onto the market, and so that is why SnoozeShade may not be the prettiest of products but it is one of the safest.
I often get asked why I don’t make SnoozeShade in prettier colours and the answer is simple – pretty colours don’t block UV the same way (unless the fabric is thicker or chemically treated). So I could go pretty – but not breathable – as a paler thicker fabric would block UV but then you’d lose the breathability and I know which factor, as a parent, I’d rather have – breathability and UV protection.
When I started there were no other products like SnoozeShade, so I had to make decisions as to how I was going to test it- there are no specific tests for a pram, pushchair, car seat or cot accessory so I was starting from scratch all by myself. I decided to test to the same standards as a toy and similarly to the new cot bumper tests.
The key hazards I had to consider were:
CHOKING – nothing on the product should be able to come off easily, so no cute buttons, dangling bits or toggles that little hands can pull at. These things cannot be sewn on strongly enough to withstand the force that a pull a toy test will put them under. My zips are seriously hardcore zips that are expensive but tough and have undergone extensive testing to be as sure as we can be that a baby can’t pull them off and swallow them. The poppers (or snaps) I use are the only type to be safety-certified for use with baby’s clothing – they are sewn into the fabric and cannot be pulled off.
ENTRAPMENT and STRANGULATION: absolutely NO LONG STRAPS (and what that actually means is no straps that exceed 22cm when pulled to maximum testing load). This made the job of attaching SnoozeShade to a pram quite hard but I added extra straps (which added extra cost) to get around it. It would be so easy to be able to just have a nice long cord that reaches all the way around the pram. But it would also be a hazard that a child could be trapped by. Safety is part of our smallest details – our drawstring storage bags have a velcro release break in them so that they also cannot be accidentally tightened too far.
So the next time you buy something for your child please, please don’t be afraid to ask what safety standards it adheres to and what additional testing they’ve done. If there are no specific tests for a product type then a responsible manufacturer should test above and beyond the legal requirements and be happy to share that information with you.
Please do get in touch if you have any further questions about any of the SnoozeShade products- I am always happy to help!