I want to see your Portacots that meet Australian Standards. This is a common thing we hear in our retail baby store when our baby product experts ask customers how they can assist them. So I thought I would publicly address this common question about portacots and travel cots.
All portacots sold in Australia must meet the Australian Standard AS/NZS 2195 for portable cots (portacot). The standard is actually known as folding cots. Obviously this includes portacots / travel cots as a folding cot. This standard is a mandatory standard.
That means it is illegal for a store owner to sell products that do not meet that mandatory Australian standard.
In addition, there is a NON-Mandatory Australian Standard for portacots from 2010. This means manufacturers are not required to meet those standards but are encouraged to.
In my experience, the bottom line is that if you buy from an Australian owned store that has a physical store (not online only). You will be covered. Their staff will know all about these subjects and be able to point you in the right direction. They should be able to identify the right portacot for your specific needs that meets the Australian Standards.
Even more so if it is a family owner business focused on being experts in baby products.
There are issues you must be aware of when purchasing a folding cot / portable cot / travel cot…
Firstly, and this applied to pretty much all baby gear, it is really only enforced on products sold in retail stores. The reason is that the ACCC can’t be going and buying products sold online only just to test and verify claims that they meet the standards. They simply don’t have the budget is what I am told.
If it is an Australian Brand and sold in retail stores, they can easily attend a store like mine and check the display stock. Trust me, they do. Over the years, we have had the Investigators come in, flash their badges and assess products on display.
Why buy a portacot from a family owned baby shop.
Whilst other store owners have complained to me about it, I personally support and like this process. It’s great that this goes on and confirms to me as a business owner that Judy and I are doing a great job at selecting the right products in terms of safety for our customers. I can happily state that we haven’t had any issues in the past from this process which is a positive thing.
This has also proven my point that it is much more safe for a parent to purchase their baby products like a portacot or travel cot from a store that has a bricks and mortar store. The platform of online or in a physical store is irrelevant. As long as they actually have a proper physical store.
I also believe that a key is one that is a small to medium size family business. One that is based on better product knowledge and one that depends on getting it right for their customers. Why? because it’s their family income on the line if they get sued. It’s their conscience if a child is injured. A large company doesn’t have the same sense of personal responsibility.
Let me explain the Australian Standards for Portacots / Travel Cots
The mandatory safety standard addresses several key aspects which include:
- Design and construction
- Mattresses, padding and cushioning material
- Minimum measurements
- Depth of folding cot lower position
- Depth of folding cot upper position
- Locking devices
- Safety and performance
- Safety markings
Choice failed portacots saying they did not meet Australian Standards?
The issues in my opinion are that there are parts of the standard that are not specific. They are not defined with a measurement number. A while ago, Choice decided to make a point of this and tested a large number of well known brands of portacots.
In my opinion (and a lot of the industry) there was a motivation to pressure the government to change the standards (which is a good thing). But – there was collateral damage. That being that they took advantage of the vagueness of the standards and failed most of the portacots they tested.
Don’t get me wrong – Choice have achieved great things…
Whilst I think their agenda may have been on the right track, I don’t agree with their process and the collateral damage as a result to good products. They should not damage good products by stating they do not meet standards when they infact do.
There have been plenty of products tested in the same labs the ACCC use that choice decide they know better. They simply may have taken advantage of the way you can read the standards.
Let me explain…
An example is the mattresses. The standard states:
The mattress and all padding and cushioning material must be sufficiently firm to stop them forming to the contours of a child’s face. The base should be designed to provide a firm flat support for a mattress, or should incorporate a mattress.
The mattress must touch the cot on every side and should fit snugly.
Folding cots must not have a mattress or other parts within the cot that are inflatable in their construction. Both manually inflating and self-inflating mattresses are not allowed.
How do you measure that against the Australian Standards?
How does a tester validate if a mattress is too hard or too soft?
This is too vague. Not specific. How does a manufacturer decide how firm it should be? Or worse, how hard it should be. There are plenty of manufacturers who have gone the other way and have almost no padding. Parents complain that babies hate them and wont sleep in them.
You are not allowed to add a mattress to a portacot as that’s an entrapment issue. So the parent just wasted their money and has to buy another.
Can you blame the manufacturer for going to far and making hard portacot mattresses when groups like Choice dramatise and leverage this to make a political point, say that they fail and kill good products off? Especially when every mummy blogger then spreads the word all over the internet without understanding what’s actually going on.
Manufacturer’s go the other way to protect their brand and parents are not able to have choices. Since when are parents not able to make obvious decisions? I thought we are all adults who are smart enough to ask questions and get advice ?
Mattresses for portacots are just one example. There are others, but i think you get the point. And make no mistake, this happens across the board – not just on Portacot Australian Standards.
The Australian standards for portacots have to be more specific.
The solution to Portacots that meet Australia Standards:
Get advice from true baby product experts. That is small family owned baby stores. Ones where the owners personally evaluate and select the products based on experience and expertise. They personally train their team and work in the store with customers on a daily basis.
This is the best way to get the right portacot that meets the Australian Standards.
I hope this article has helped you to understand the Portacots that meet Australian Standards.
In addition, you need to pick the right travel cot for your specific needs. Everyone’s needs are different. I highly recommend that you check out my previous article here.
At Bubs n Grubs, we have a great range of Portacots / Travel Cots and Folding Cots. We, the owners (Judy and myself) hand pick each product based on what our combined experience of over 20 years and over 15 years in this business has taught us.
We have learned from talking to mums and dad’s and understanding what their needs are. Don’t forget we have a highly trained team of products specialists who can spend time with you to give you the right advice in store or over the phone.
Click the button below and check out the range and don’t hesitate to pop in to store or call one of our baby products experts for any questions or advice you need about finding the Portacot for your needs.
About the Author
Frank is a founding owner of Bubs n Grubs. He is also the sole author of the Bubs n Grubs Baby Blog. He has been personally evaluating baby products & testing them before offering them to our customers since 2009. In addition, he is consistently giving manufacturer’s feedback & product development advice, reviewing & getting customer feedback. He has been doing this since the business started in 2009. He is proud to be one of the rare baby store owners in Australia who regularly engages with customers in his store. Frank values the constant feedback and regularly seeks it out. He has been featured on the Morning Show & the Today Show on Channel 7 and Channel 9 and is a recognised expert in baby products as a result.