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Lewes District

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KIDS: Prams, Cots, Safety Gates, High Chairs/Walkers & Car Seats

Dear Members,

An outright ban on offering or requesting prams, cots, safety gates, high chairs/walkers and car seats would be the easiest option. However, some of these items will be safe and not deserving of being sent to landfill.

A Safety-First attitude would suggest buying brand-new wherever possible. Where this is not possible, Lewes Freecycle Members are urged to take special care, including consideration of the following:

It is the responsibility of the recipient to check that the baby/child items requested or offered on Freecycle are safe and meet current safety standards. The following information will help in keeping your baby or child safe.


01) Make sure the brakes are working properly. 02) The pushchair should have a five-point (rather than three-point) harness, as this conforms to current safety standards. 03) Check that the harness works properly and that the straps aren't frayed or showing any other signs of damage. 04) Check that the wheels are correctly aligned. 05) Open and close the pushchair a couple of times – are all the folding parts operating smoothly? 06) Ensure that the two locking mechanisms are working efficiently and safely to avoid the pushchair folding up or collapsing while your child is in it. 07) Check that there is no rust or flaking paint or chrome. 08) Is the fabric in reasonably good condition and not weakened by tears? 09) The handles and frame should have no unusual bends or kinks.


01) Avoid old family heirlooms as they may not meet current safety standards. 02) Make sure it conforms with current British standards by looking for the BS EN 716: 2005 mark. 03) Measure the bar spacing: the bars should be no more than 6.5cm (2½ inches) apart so your baby can't get stuck between them. 04) There must be at least 50cm (19½ inches) between the top of the mattress and top of the cot. 05) Check the drop-side mechanism works smoothly and stays reliably in the ‘up’ position. 06) If there's any sign of peeling paint, strip and re-paint the cot. 07) Remove any transfers on the inside of the cot because they could come off and become a choking hazard. 08) Check there are no footholds, cut-outs or ledges in the sides or the ends that could help a baby climb out. 09) Check there are no protrusions on the top rails where your child could catch his or her clothing, or get anything caught around his or her neck. 10) Check the cot mattress carefully, making sure it's the correct size for the cot, is clean and has maintained its shape. 11) Check for tears or splits in the cover. 12) Mattresses should carry the BSI number BS 1877-10:2011+A1:2012. 13) The mattress should fit the cot with no gaps down the side that are more than 4cm (1½ inches).

The Lullaby Trust recommends you buy a new cot mattress for your baby, where possible.


01) The bars or slats of the stair gate should be spaced no more than 6.5cm (2½ inches) apart to comply with current safety standards and to minimise any potential accidents. 02) Are there any areas of the product that appear damaged or badly warn? 03) Check wooden areas to see if they are broken or splintered, metal bars for signs of bending and the seams or welds on fabric or plastic parts to see whether they are coming apart. 04) Check any locks are functioning correctly. 05) Make sure there are no sharp edges, corners or protrusions on the stair gate. 06) Has someone painted or varnished the stair gate? If so, steer clear as the finish may contain hazardous chemicals.

Further information:


01) Is it stable, sturdy and not missing any screws or bolts? 02) Are all locks and catches to keep it open working properly? 03) Ensure that there are no sharp edges or elements such as cracks on the plastic tray that could pinch your baby. 04) If the seat or any other part of the chair is padded ensure that no foam is exposed, as this can be a potential choking hazard. 05) Check that there is no flaking paint or splinters. 06) Check that it has an integral harness. If it doesn't you'll need to buy a separate harness and use it whenever your baby is in the chair/walker.


The best advice is do not opt for a second-hand child/booster seat.

You cannot be certain of its history. It may have been involved in an accident and the damage may not be visible. Very often the instructions are missing from second-hand seats which makes it more difficult to be sure that you are fitting and using it correctly. Second-hand seats are also likely to be older, to have suffered more wear and tear and may not be designed to current safety standards. Before you agree to accept the seat:

01) Examine it carefully for damage (but remember, not all damage to child seats is visible to the naked eye). 02) Make sure the manufacturer's instructions are available. 03) Check the manufacturer's advice about how old the seat should be before it needs to be replaced. 04) Make sure the seat is suitable for your child's weight and height. 05) Try the seat in your car - if you cannot get it to fit securely, do not take it. 06) Check that the seat meets the United Nations standard Regulation 44.04 - look for the 'E' mark, or an i-size seat.

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