Safety is a major concern for parents. Everything that, at one stage, seemed harmless and insignificant is suddenly rendered a death trap the second you start a family; from coffee tables to cupboard doors, potential danger is everywhere. We won’t even eat toast because of the sharp edges! At Mamas & Papas we know how important is it keep baby safe, that’s why we have the only independently accredited test centre in the UK. Putting yours and your little ones safety first.
Even still, seeing a label that says ‘tested for safety’ is not always as reassuring as you’d like it to be. To help allay any fears, we took a trip to our onsite Test Lab to see these safety checks in action.
Very few people get a tour of the test lab, so we were very honoured. Our guide for the day was Michael, the Technical Manager – a lovely man with a truly amazing moustache. It’s his job to engineer some of the unspeakable acts we put our products through. Walking into the Test Lab was really quite daunting – like a cross between the world’s most unappealing gym and a torture chamber, it is a room full of instruments of contortion and destruction.
So far so terrifying, but we need these extreme processes to make sure that all of our products meet or exceed the expected safety standards.
First off, Michael (and his moustache) explained how the test centre is accredited by an independent body called UKAS – no, not the university enrolment people – but the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. In case you’re reading this from somewhere other than the UK, then you’ll be pleased to know that we test all our products to British, European, Australian and US safety standards, so no matter where in the world you are, your little one is safe. UKAS audit us yearly to make sure we are still adhering to their guidelines and believe us when we say; you wouldn’t want to ignore these guys.
The process of testing a product goes through several stages – starting at inception. When our ridiculously inventive gang over at Design and Development come up with a new product, they bring it to Michael and the test team – a sadistic bunch, but lovely with it. Those guys then highlight any glaring problems in the design. The D&D team then take the product back to the drawing board (sometimes sulking) and adapt it to address these concerns.
This is where Michael’s strict adherence to the rules pays off – while he might be a stickler for stopping us from pushing into the lunch queue, it does mean that when a product comes his way, he and his team can question and query every aspect of design to remove any factors that may prove problematic to baby in the future.
Once the product is designed to a specification that suits the Test Lab’s standards, a prototype will then be put through a rigorous course of integrity tests. This is where it gets interesting!
The team at the test lab have engineered a number of machines which have the sole purpose of trying to destroy the products we lovingly create. It might sound counteractive – like hiring a Greek plate smasher to wash dishes – but this means we can be sure that our products will survive some of the most violent acts imaginable.
With numerous items representing the weight of baby at different stages, they strap these in to every pushchair, carry cot and highchair then put them through a series of tests that even astronaut in training wouldn’t be able to handle. We don’t even want to talk about the number of rag dolls strewn about the place, having been through the tests. Somewhere there is a rag mother, who would be heartbroken.
What plays out for the rest of the tour is like an episode of Tom and Jerry, only instead of a cat it’s a carry cot, and instead of a mouse it’s a battering ram. We won’t lie, there’s something incredibly exciting about seeing people smash things up. Every product we saw being tested survived which, while secretly a little disappointing, means that it’s all the better for baby’s safety!
Come back tomorrow when we’ll be discussing some of the tests we put our products through… it’ll be smash happy!