Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Toddler found with cord around neck

NZ ministry investigates popular device while distributor offers free safety covers to keep cords out of cots.

An Angelcare AC1100 baby mintor.
An Angelcare AC1100 baby mintor.

Buying an Angelcare monitor for their daughter gave Sarah Lorigan peace of mind - until she walked into her bedroom and found the cord wrapped twice around the baby's neck.

Olivia, then aged 18 months, had been using the device with no issues, said Mrs Lorigan. In April, the family visited relatives in Nelson and transferred the monitor to a cot.

"In the time before she fell asleep she pulled the mattress up, found the cord and had a little play and somehow wrapped it around her neck," she said.

"It had wrapped around quite a few times and in the position she was sleeping in if she'd moved ... it was quite scary. The scariest thing was we don't always check on her when she goes to sleep, but I just happened to poke my head around the door."

The new parents had read the instruction manual and were very safety conscious.

"We put it through a hole in the bottom of the portable cot and didn't think about it as a danger...we are first-time parents so we're quite cautious."

Despite the experience, the family kept using the device, she said.

Have you had a scary experience with an Angelcare monitor? Email us here.

Baby monitor recall after US deaths

One of New Zealand's most popular baby monitors has been recalled overseas after two babies fatally strangled themselves with the device's cords.

New Zealand authorities are investigating Angelcare baby monitors, which measure a baby's movement via a sensor pad placed underneath the crib mattress and are connected to the monitor with a cord.

Two infants died of strangulation in the United States in 2004 and 2011 after pulling the cords loose and tangling them around their necks.

Angelcare Monitors, the firm that makes the popular product, issued a voluntary recall for 600,000 of its monitors in Canada and the US on Friday, and was providing repair kits to secure the cords.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is working with the New Zealand distributor, Child's Play, to investigate whether any action needs to be taken here.

A ministry spokeswoman said its Trading Standards division was working with Child's Play to assess the situation. "If it appears a recall is the best course of action then the company undertakes a voluntary recall."

Child's Play owner Dave Austin said he approached authorities to investigate the issue on Friday and was offering a free cord cover to any concerned Angelcare device owners.

"At this stage the recall notice is only relevant to the US," he said. "I've had a lot of customers, between 100 and 115, call and order the cord cover but others have said they don't need it, that they are using their common sense."

The monitor, stocked in most of the country's baby stores, came with clear and simple safety advice.

"There is a set of specific instructions that show you how to install it and have the cot mattress sitting on top of the [sensor pad] and having the cable coming out the bottom so it's not allowed to be grabbed by a child."

Consumer New Zealand yesterday removed the product from a list of recommended baby monitors until a ministry decision was made.

Plunket national child safety adviser Sue Campbell said it was a reminder to parents of dangers that could be hidden in their homes.

"Parents need to be aware of the possibility of strangulation on anything - blind cords, power cords, anything your child can get around [them]."

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said on its website the device's cord posed a strangulation risk if the child pulled it into the cot. It recalled six models sold between 1999 and 2013 that did not include rigid cord covers.

Strangulation risks

* Secure any low hanging cords in your home. The main risks are blind cords and power cords.

* Be aware of cords on clothing.

If you have bought an Angelcare monitor with model numbers AC1100, AC201, AC300, AC401 AC601 and 49255 between 1999 and 2013 from Australia or New Zealand you can visit tinyurl.com/babymonitoradvice or phone (09) 921 6580 to request a free cord cover kit.

- NZ Herald

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