Kmart has been urged to fast-track safety improvements after an Australian boy bumped into a clothing rack hook causing serious injuries months after the retail giant promised to fix the hazard.
Kirsty Colbert was shopping with her 4-year-old son Alexander at Kmart's Delacombe store last Tuesday when he was hurt.
"We were walking along through the main aisle and Alex was holding my hand when he looked back to look at a pair of slippers and one of the clothing rack hooks had hooked onto his face," she told NCA NewsWire.
"It scraped along his cheek and went into his ear."
After lodging a complaint with Kmart's head office Colbert said she had noticed rounded plastic covers had been installed onto the ends of the clothing racks at the store this week.
"They're right up at eye-level so it's not something young children would see until they're right up close to it – but by then it's too late," she said.
"It has to be addressed – they're sharp and dangerous."
Colbert said her son suffered a mild ear infection and a trauma pressure tear behind his ear drum.
"That could have been his eye," she said.
"I remember running my finger over the hook that he had bumped into and thought it was a bit too sharp, no wonder it had pierced his skin.
"Other children are going to get hurt – the hooks shouldn't be left there knowing the damage they cause, and this was in one of the store's main shopping aisles, not just down some side aisle."
Kmart had promised safety improvements last year after multiple reports of children being injured by the hooks.
In December a spokesman said that they would put plastic covers on all apparel arm hooks.
"Trials have shown these to significantly reduce the risk of injury or laceration if someone accidentally hits the apparel arm," the spokesman said.
The change was announced after 6-year-old Cecilia Chan collided with a hook at Chatswood Kmart in January last year.
The hook, which was pointing upwards, pierced the little girl's eye socket when she lost her balance and fell onto a metal clothes rack.
She needed surgery to heal the wound.
Kmart vowed then to install new safety measures by 2021.
The Herald has approached Kmart NZ for comment on whether the changes would be rolled out in New Zealand.