Yesterday, health visiting featured in an exclusive ITV news story about potentially unsafe baby products. ITV News completed an investigation which found that items being sold online may pose a risk to babies.

You can watch the news piece and read the online story with extended interviews here.

ITV Reporter Lauren Hall shows a selection of baby products to a panel of experts

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) supported ITV News with its investigation. We provided exclusive early access to data from our annual survey which highlighted health visitors’ concerns about the availability of these unsafe products in the UK. We asked health visitors across the country (n=1,186) to share their frontline practitioner intelligence on how widespread this problem is and their level of concern.  Our findings were shared in the news item yesterday, aired at 6pm on ITV News Regions across the country:

  • The majority of health visitors (88%) said they had come across parents using unsafe baby products.
  • Nearly all health visitors (97%) said they are concerned about the availability of these products in the UK.

Georgina Mayes, iHV Policy and Quality Lead, joined an expert panel with Jenny Ward, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust, and Katrina Phillips OBE, Chief Executive the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT). In the news piece, they aimed to raise awareness of potentially unsafe baby products and examined a range of products from sleep accessories to certain types of dummy clips and teethers. There were collective concerns from all panel members about the risks posed to babies from the products shared.

On reviewing the table of unsafe products, Katrina Phillips OBE, Chief Executive of CAPT described them as ‘potential tragedies waiting to happen’.

ITV News also shared Lisa Gee’s story. Lisa has been campaigning for ten years to raise awareness of the dangers of cot bumpers. Her son, Preston, tragically died when he was nine months old, linked to a baby cot bumper. Lisa shared how concerned she was by ITV’s findings which found that a range of products that are linked to increase risk of death and harm are still available to purchase in the UK. Lisa wants to prevent other families from facing similar tragedies and is keen to continue to raise awareness among parents.

The ITV News story was aired at a particularly important time of year, as many families are buying Christmas presents for their babies. These products may look appealing to families who are not aware that the dangers that they pose to babies. The news piece warns that positive reviews from consumers or promotion by celebrities does not mean that a product meets basic safety tests or is recommended to help create the safest sleep environment for a baby.

Following the ITV News investigation, two online marketplaces have now withdrawn items discussed during the panel but some of the other sellers and manufactures have chosen not to comment on ITV findings.

Katrina Phillips OBE, Chief Executive of CAPT, said:

“It’s hard enough being a new parent. Parents should be able to trust that the things they buy for their baby are safe – whether from sellers on online marketplaces or shops on their high street.

“In our recent research, three-quarters of parents thought that, if they were buying for their baby from an online marketplace, the product would have been fully tested and certified safe by an independent body before it could be sold online. That’s simply not the case.

“In reality, if an online seller is based overseas, and sells through an online platform, they can evade their safety responsibilities – even for nursery products for your baby. Check out our advice on how to choose safe sellers on online marketplaces.”

Jenny Ward, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust, said: 

“With so many baby sleep products on the market, it can be hard for parents to know which products are right for their baby. Not every baby sleep product sold conforms to safer sleep advice and it’s vital that parents know what to look for. We strongly recommend parents ensure that any product they buy complies with British Standards and that they carefully follow all instructions included with the product.

“When choosing sleep items for a baby there are just a few key essentials parents need. To help with this, we have put together a useful guide on how to choose the products or items your baby needs:”

Georgina Mayes, iHV Policy and Quality Lead, said:

“Parents just want to do the right thing for their baby. Clever online marketing and promotion of unsafe baby products, lures parents into a false sense of security, because the items are sold as ‘being able to make babies sleep better’. As an exhausted parent, who wouldn’t want their baby to sleep better? You can understand why parents buy these products.

“Our survey showed, when health visitors explain the risks posed to babies, parents are shocked that unsafe baby products are allowed to be sold online. Health visitors have a vital role in supporting families to access the right information on how to keep their baby safe. Just one conversation could prevent an accident or tragedy.”

Health visiting practitioners all play a crucial role in raising awareness of these potentially unsafe products and supporting parents through their work to reduce unintentional injuries. Please promote this story and the guidance on child safety through your networks.

For further advice and guidance on baby and child safety, visit:

We would like to say a huge heart felt thank you to all the health visitors, practitioners and families who shared their experiences so generously and enabled on location filming of this very important news story. We are particularly indebted to Lisa Gee who bravely shared her tragic personal story about her son Preston, in the hope that this will prevent further tragedies.

With special thanks to Jenny Ward, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust, and Katrina Phillips OBE, Chief Executive of CAPT, for their support and expert guidance with this news story.


Research published by Swansea University this week finds that, despite their marketing claims, ‘at home formula preparation devices’ often do not deliver water hot enough (i.e. at least 70˚C) to kill bacteria that may be present in powdered infant formula.

Formula-fed infants experience gastrointestinal infections at higher rates than breastfed infants, due in part to bacteria in powdered infant formula (PIF) and bacterial contamination of infant feeding equipment. The United Kingdom National Health Service (UK NHS) has adopted the World Health Organization recommendation that water used to reconstitute PIF is ≥70°C to eliminate bacteria.

The research study used community science methods to co-design an at-home experiment and online questionnaire to explore the safety of PIF preparation compared to UK NHS guidelines. 200 UK-based parents of infants aged ≤12 months were recruited; 151 provided data on PIF preparation, and 143 were included in the analysis of water temperatures used to reconstitute PIF.

Key findings:

  • Only 14.9% of 74 PIF preparation machines produced a water temperature of ≥70°C compared with 78.3% (n = 54) of 69 kettle users.
  • On average, preparation machine temperatures were 9 degrees C lower than when parents used a kettle.
  • Most parents routinely washed and sterilised bottles and teats.
  • Many parents did not always fully follow NHS safer PIF preparation guidance, including 21.8% washing their hands half the time or less, and 14.6% regularly pre-preparing bottles.
  • Most parents did not appear to understand the risks of PIF bacterial contamination.

 Study recommendations:

  • Parents should be advised that many PIF preparation machines will not produce water that meets the minimum temperature needed to kill any bacteria present in PIF, which is not and cannot be made to be sterile.
  • Instead, they should be advised to follow NHS (2019) advice, including heating water in a kettle so that it is >70°C, and, per Losio et al. (2018), ideally >85°C.
  • There is an urgent need for stronger consumer protections with respect to the marketing of PIF and PIF preparation devices to further protect infants from PIF-related bacterial contamination, which can result in serious ill health and even death. This should ensure that PIF labelling is compliant with the WHO (1981) guidance (WHO Europe, 2022).

 Please amplify these safety messages:

  • Use the infographics produced by Swansea University and in partnership with the Food Standards Agency to share these messages widely – use them on social media, as posters, and included in teaching.
  • These infographics, alongside others produced by First Steps Nutrition Trust can be found here.

 Policy response:

  • The Food Standards Agency (responsible for the safety of powdered infant formula) has recommended:
    • All formula-feeding parents should check the temperature of the water they use.
    • If formula machine users find a temperature below 70°C, they should report it to the manufacturer AND their local trading standards/Citizens Advice.
  • Office for Product Safety and Standards (responsible for the regulation of formula preparation machines):
    • Are conducting further testing on PIF preparation machines
    • They will alert the public if any further action needs to be taken
  • DHSC (responsible for content on NHS website, including bottle feeding guidance).
    • No response at this stage

This week is Child Safety Week 2022 (6-12 June), an annual community awareness campaign led by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) to raise awareness of the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented.

As part of our activities to reduce the harms caused by accidents in childhood, the iHV was delighted to support the launch of The Harper-Lee Foundation button battery awareness Parliamentary Reception on Tuesday 7 June. Alongside numerous other organisations, we signed the ‘button battery pledge’ which pledges to raise awareness of the risks associated with button and coin cell ingestion in local communities. Please join with us and sign the pledge, either as an individual or an organisation.

At the Parliamentary Reception, from the left: Georgina Mayes, Policy and Quality Lead at iHV; Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive at CAPT; Ian Evans, Training and Consultancy Manager at CAPT; and Pam Prentice, Campaigns Manager at CAPT

The Harper-Lee Foundation was established last year following the tragic death of Harper-Lee Fanthorpe who sadly passed away after ingesting a coin-cell battery. The charity is working alongside Government, charities, and industry to reduce the risk to children of accidents and death from foreign body ingestion.

The Parliamentary Reception was hosted by Jo Gideon MP and sponsored by the British and Irish Portable Battery Association (BIPBA). At the event, The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) launched a joint awareness and information campaign on button cell safety, designed to provide expert information and guidance to parents and professionals working with babies, children, and families on how to handle button batteries safely. Representatives from CAPT were on hand to discuss the initiative with parliamentarians and also share their fabulous free educational resources.

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of CAPT, said:

“Button batteries cause corrosive burns inside the body if they’re swallowed and get stuck. Young children have died or been left with life-changing injuries. But too few parents know about the risks or how to keep their children safe. As trusted professionals supporting families UK-wide, health visitors have a vital role to play in raising awareness.”

It is important that we all work together to raise awareness of the preventable harms that button batteries pose to children and ensure that all parents and carers are aware of the important safety messages. Button batteries are powering a growing number of household products and have been linked to serious injuries among small children. Lithium cell batteries are a particular concern as they are larger and have a higher voltage.

Here is a video from the CAPT charity about the dangers of button batteries that you can share with parents (warning – it is not an easy watch…):

The new initiative will help parents, carers and professionals understand the risks and keep children safe. There is a raft of resources available for health visitors to access, please visit: for further information. Thanks to generous support from the Office for Product Safety and Standards, CAPT resources are all free to order from their online shop and they have a special fund that enables them to refund the costs of postage and packaging!

Georgina Mayes, iHV Policy and Quality Lead, said:

“I was delighted to attend this event in Parliament to raise the profile of the work of the Harper-Lee Foundation, so that communities across the United Kingdom will become more aware of the dangers of button battery ingestion. Health visitors have a vital role to play in raising awareness of the dangers that button batteries pose to babies and children. Health visitors reach every baby that is born in the UK through the delivery of the Healthy Child Programme and, through using their specialist public health nursing skills, they can prevent serious and catastrophic harm to babies and children.”

National Button Battery Awareness Day, 12 June 2022

The Westminster launch of The Harper-Lee Foundation coincided with Child Safety Week (6-12 June) and, this Sunday 12 June, marks National Button Battery Awareness Day. It would be brilliant if you could share the CAPT video and post on social media, using the hashtags #ButtonBatteryAwareness, #IamButtonBatteryAware, and #NeverAgain.


This week, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of button batteries and other items that are commonly ingested by children.


If swallowed, button batteries (also known as button cell batteries or coin batteries) can burn through the throat or stomach and can cause major damage to other internal organs.


The #NilByMouth campaign will focus on equipping local practitioners and families with knowledge on how to prevent young children from ingesting these batteries, as well as other dangerous items such as magnets and household cleaning products.

Share the video below, and download and share the poster on the link below.

OPSS is keen for groups, businesses, and individuals to support and share the materials on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by using the hashtag #nilbymouth.

Share because you care  

Child Safety Week is an annual community education campaign run by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), acting as a catalyst for thousands of safety conversations and activities UK-wide.

We want all children to have the freedom to grow and learn, safe from serious harm.

This year, Child Safety Week runs from Monday 7th to Sunday 13th June – with the theme Share because you care.

All free resources are listed in the ‘What resources can I get?’ section of the Child Safety Week Information Pack.

Grab resources available now!

First aid and prevention for burns webinar – 8 June, 13:00-13:45

This free webinar is a fantastic opportunity for parents you work with to:

  • understand the biggest burns risks to their child
  • learn how simple first aid can make all the difference if their child is burnt
  • make really simple changes to stop burn accidents happening in the first place.

Tickets are free, but limited, so please share this link for the Eventbrite booking page with your families and share our  on your own page.

As part of Child Safety Week 2020, iHV is delighted to share its latest resource for parents: iHV Parent Tips – Accidental poisonings , written with support from the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT).

The largest number of childhood accidents happen in the home. Coronavirus “lockdown” means that children will be spending much more time at home and we need to more careful to keep them safe from harm. Our homes and gardens are full of harmless-looking products that we use everyday which can be dangerous if your child accidentally puts them in their mouth or swallows them.


Please share.

This Parent Tip joins our suite of Parent Tips  – our helpful factsheets to help parents to find expert advice on key areas of looking after their new baby from when they are born to when they go to school. Written by experts in the field, they cover topics such as feeding, health, behaviour and development, and are based on up-to-date research and the experience and knowledge of real-life health visitors working across the UK.

Child Safety Week (1-7 June) is the Child Accident Prevention Trust’s annual campaign to equip anyone working with families with essential, practical child safety advice they can share.  It will be different this year but as important as ever.

90% of serious accidents to children under five happen in the home.  This has obvious implications for children during lockdown and as it begins to ease.

Challenging as current circumstances are, they also bring great opportunities to harness practitioners’ energy and determination to support and engage with families in need.

So CAPT are offering more free content than usual, which they’ve made really quick and easy to share – it’s crammed with practical safety advice for families during lockdown and beyond.

Child Safety Week (1-7 June) is a great opportunity to share it.  But if you can get their advice out sooner, please don’t wait as the need is now.

Lockdown help

CAPT has developed a range of new content that you can use to support families under pressure in lockdown. This includes articles, fact sheets, illustrations and social media posts.

So far, CAPT has focused on their top tips for lockdown safety plus burns and poisons – two risks that may be heightened during lockdown – with more topics to come.

CAPT has also developed a Parents Pack for practitioners to refresh their knowledge and share with families far and wide.

Child Safety Week, 1 to 7 June

Throughout Child Safety Week, CAPT will have a focus on social media, with lots of posts and tips to share, making it easy for families to get relatable, helpful advice to keep children safe.

Make sure you get them by following or @childsafetyweek

Beyond Child Safety Week

CAPT is reworking the Child Safety Week Action Pack as an essential year-round resource, for use once practitioners can undertake face-to-face group work again.

Sign up for your free action pack and CAPT’s free safety campaigns, advice and resources at

In our continued support of #ChildSafetyWeek, we are delighted to share 2 more updated resources for families and parents.

Continuing the week’s theme of Family life today: where’s the risk? today’s updated resources are:

Updated Parent Tips – Safety in the Home/ Suffocation and Strangulation

  • These Parent Tips give parents and families tips on how to reduce suffocation and strangulation as there are a number of hazards in the home which can cause suffocation or strangulation in babies and children.

Updated Parent Tips – Preventing choking

  • These Parent Tips give parents and families tips on how to prevent choking. Keeping your little one safe is vitally important to all parents. Babies and small children are at high risk of choking on small items because they examine unfamiliar objects by putting them in their mouths.

During #ChildSafetyWeek, we are delighted to share 2 more updated resources for families and parents.

Continuing the week’s theme of Family life today: where’s the risk? today’s updated resources are:

Updated Parent Tips – Staying Safe in the Sun

  • These Parent Tips give parents and families tips on how to stay safe in the sun. Sun safety is vitally important, particularly for babies and children who have delicate skin that burns easily.

Updated Parent Tips – Safety in the Home/Water Safety

  • These Parent Tips give parents and families tips on how to keep babies and young children safe around water. Babies can drown in just 3cm of water. For this reason it’s vitally important to never leave your baby alone in the bath, not even for a moment.

The Secretary of State has announced £8m funding available for Maternity Safety Training.

All Trusts are being encouraged to apply with a minimum of £40k to be allocated to every Trust.  Bids will go to the nominated Regional Leads who are undertaking the shortlisting process; this will be followed by a panel review to determine the level of award to each Trust (this can be up to £80k).

The deadline to submit bids is 5pm Friday 18 November 2016.