Warning to parents over nappy sacks as 16 babies choke to death on flimsy bags

Nappy sacks can pose a danger to babies.
Nappy sacks can pose a danger to babies.

Parents in South Yorkshire are being warned of the dangers of nappy sacks after 16 babies choked to death on them.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has met with manufacturers and retailers to demand new packaging and hazard labels following a string of tragedies involving tots choking on the sacks, used to bin dirty nappies.

They want the sacks to be sold on perforated rolls, rather than as single sheets to make them harder for babies to grab.

RoSPA also want them to be non-scented so tots do not mistake them for food and for warning labels to advise parents on safe storage.

The charity’s Sheila Merrill said: “We want to maximise public awareness of this serious risk to young lives, and develop a code of practice for the manufacture and labelling of nappy sacks.

“Where these deaths have occurred, typically the sacks have been stored within the baby’s reach, close to the baby’s cot, including under the mattress, usually for convenience.

“The parents clearly have not made any association between the nappy sacks and any sort of risk from suffocation or choking.

“We can change this with adequate education and awareness, but we also want manufacturers to consider safety approaches such as making them unscented, producing them on a roll rather than as individual sheets, or new packaging.”

Nappy sacks have been implicated in causing suffocation and choking of 16 babies aged less than one year old.

Beth Amison, a mum-of-two, from Staffordshire, is supporting RoSPA’s nappy sack campaign following the death of her seven-month-old son Maison in 2013.

The 23-year-old told The Sun: “I don’t want other parents to suffer the same devastating tragedy that my family went through.

“My world fell apart because of a nappy sack.

“Since Maison died, I share the dangers of nappy sacks to other parents through my Facebook page called Maison’s Memory.

“It’s important for anyone looking after babies to be aware of the risks nappy sacks pose and what they can do to prevent more unnecessary deaths.

“Never think it won’t happen to me.”

RoSPA warns: “The typical scenario associated with the deaths is that the sacks are stored within the baby’s reach, close to the baby’s cot – including under the mattress usually for convenience.

“In some of the cases, the nappy sacks had been left near to or in the cot for ease of changing the baby’s nappy in the night.

“The light flimsy plastic material of the bag is easy for a baby to grasp automatically, and then instinctively bring to their mouths for exploration, which can lead to obstruction of the nose and mouth, and even inhalation.