Parents are being warned about Insta-popular cot canopies

A cot canopy may look pretty but experts are warning it could pose a strangulation risk [Photo: Getty]
A cot canopy may look pretty but experts are warning it could pose a strangulation risk [Photo: Getty]

Experts are warning that certain social media-driven trends in nursery decor could be potentially dangerous for babies.

Draping a canopy over your child’s cot might garner likes on Instagram, but a paediatrician has warned about the potential risk of strangulation.

“I’ve treated a baby who used a mosquito net to pull up to stand, and ended up wrapping it around her neck,” paediatrician Dr Ruth Barker told MailOnline.

“Luckily, her mother came into the room and found her dangling from the net before it was too late.”

While the pretty canopies aren’t considered that risky with newborns, who are not mobile, as soon as babies are rolling, grabbing or pulling the strangulation risk increases.

Meanwhile, consumer advocacy group Choice Australia is warning against is fairy lights.

While they can add a warm glow to any child’s room, the string can pose a strangulation risk.

The bulbs can also become a choking hazard if they become unscrewed and if the lights are powered by button batteries, which can pose serious health problems to babies and children if they are swallowed.

Choice also noted that if the lights are powered by electricity, there is the possibility of electrocution if a baby chews on the chord.

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Large pieces of furniture such as chests of drawers can also be hazards – Choice suggests securing any large items of furniture to the wall with braces to ensure that they won’t accidentally topple over.

And wall hangings and pictures hung within reach can pose a risk to able-to-stand babies, who can effectively pull them off the wall.

Choice also recommends keeping little ones out of drawers by fitting childproof locks. This should also prevent them climbing on them.

Window guards and baby gates are also a good way to stop your child from making any potentially dangerous bids for freedom.

"It's important to create a space that is safe not only for their current abilities, but for the abilities they will develop over time," Dr Barker says.

"Parents need to anticipate and stay one jump ahead, because you don't want the first time they do something to be their last."

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Fairy lights could also pose a risk to babies [Photo: Getty]
Fairy lights could also pose a risk to babies [Photo: Getty]

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A safer nursery

While the Lullaby Trust, a Sids (sudden infant death syndrome) awareness charity, doesn’t comment on specific products it says that there is evidence to suggest that babies are at higher risk if they have their heads covered – and items added to a cot may increase the risk of head-covering.

“Unnecessary items in a baby’s cot can also increase the risk of accidents,” the charity’s website says.

“While evidence on individual items is not widely available, it makes sense to be as cautious as possible.

“We therefore recommend babies are slept in cots or Moses baskets that are kept as clear as possible and specifically advise:

  • No pillows or duvets;

  • No cot bumpers;

  • No soft toys;

  • No loose bedding;

  • No products (such as wedges or straps) that will keep your baby in one sleeping position.

Ultimately, when it comes to the design of your baby’s bedroom it’s safer to err on the side of caution and keep the cot clear. Your baby won’t care if it has an Insta-worthy nursery anyway.

For more advice on safer sleep for babies visit