Child safety warning over online purchases keep safety standards in mind

Issue 52 – August 2013

Parents are being urged to check the safety of online purchases among growing concern over New Zealand's rate of preventable child injuries. New Zealand has one of the highest child injury rates in the OECD and research carried out at Otago University shows that, on average, two children die from preventable injuries each week and another three are admitted to hospital each day.

From early August 2013, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will provide new parents with a guide showing them what to look for when buying children's furniture, clothing, and toys.

Safekids director Ann Weaver said there was growing concern about parents buying children's items from second-hand auction sites such as Trade Me. Problems could arise when products were brought into New Zealand from overseas and then resold online or in a garage sale. 'There are some things you should never buy second-hand – one of those is car seats and the other is bike helmets, because you don't know what's actually happened to that product.'

Products that had passed local safety standards would carry an AS/NZS number. Purchases from the United States or the European Union, which had similar standards, were also usually safe.

Although fewer children are being injured, the internet has created new challenges. In the past few years, the number of children admitted to hospital with preventable injuries had dropped from about five to three a day, but hundreds have been treated after swallowing small batteries or magnetic toys.

Tips for parents

  • Forget about age when it comes to car seats and stick to height – until your child is 148 cm tall, they need a car restraint.
  • Your child needs a helmet for any wheeled activity, whether cycling, skating, skateboarding, or scootering.
  • Keep safety standards in mind whenever you buy something – look for either an AS/NZS number (Australia and New Zealand) or an ISO, EN, BS, ASTM, or CFR (international standards) code on the product packaging.

→ Read the full media release (

Related standards

Summarised from a Stuff media release, 7 August 2013.


Published in consumer and occupational safety.