Guidance on bean bag usage

The SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping Frequently Asked Questions has been updated with guidance on the use of bean bags:

Is it safe to sleep baby on a baby bean bag?

No. A bean bag, defined as a material sack encasing a large quantity of polystyrene foam beads that is usually a pyramid-shaped sack used for seating, poses a suffocation risk to babies and small children if they inhale the beads. Bean bags and other household products containing polystyrene foam beads such as baby bean bag beds are required under a mandatory standard to have a child-resistant slide fastener and carry the warning

“WARNING: Small Lightweight Beads Present a Severe Danger to Children if Swallowed or Inhaled.”

Unfortunately, bean bag products, including those designed specifically for babies, have been available to consumers in Australia. As recently as late 2011 there have been bean bag products that do not comply with the mandatory standard recalled in Australia.

Concern has been raised about the potential of some bean bags being capable of contouring around a baby’s face, resulting in a risk of suffocation.

The Queensland government is presently considering a mandatory warning label on all bean bags which will state:

“Bean bags are not suitable for children less than 12 months of age to sleep or nap in as they are a suffocation hazard.”

Furthermore, researchers have studied incidences where babies have been placed to sleep on bean bags or similar polystyrene bead-filled cushions or seats for their last sleep before dying suddenly and unexpectedly. The researchers concluded that bean bags should not be used as they are dangerous for young children.

For more information visit the bean bag page of the Australian government product safety website at http://goo.gl/117je.

The full Safe Sleeping FAQ can be downloaded at http://www.sidsandkids.org/safe-sleeping/faqs/.

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