Welcome back to our account of the time we toured our onsite Test Centre. There were a lot of things being thrown, swung and smashed, as well as cuddly toys that had seen the wrong side of clamps, ramps and hammers. It was both the stuff of dreams and nightmares.
It was, however, all in the name of a good cause – safety. In the same way you check your smoke detectors and burglar alarms, we check all of our products to guarantee they meet the required safety standards.
A product that sees a lot of test action is our range of cots. You want to make sure that cots are both comfortable and safe and this is something we bear in mind right from creation. Though, there’s not a lot we can do if they decide that 4am is the perfect time to get up.
You’d expect the place where you child sleeps to be scrutinised for its safety, but the amount of testing that cots come up against, verges on the abusive. If there was a number for CotLine – we’d have rung it. The plus side to all this pulverising is; the cots seem to be able to handle it.
In the corner of the lab, there is a machine that can only be described a looking like a battering ram. We’d never seen a battering ram in person, but we assume it looks like this. This ‘ram’ is pointed downwards, and while it could probably be used to find oil or destroy the world, its actual use is to test the durability of our cots.
Michael (remember the guy with the moustache?) and his team use this beast to simulate a child weighing 10kg jumping on the base 1,000 times in five different places. That is a lot of banging, believe us. When you’re there it can seem incredibly aggressive and even a tad excessive, but doing it this way allows us to be completely sure that we are sending out safe products.
Another of the tests involves using instruments referred to as ‘probes’. It’s not often you have a discussion that necessitates the use of the word ‘probes’ so it’s always a bit worrying when someone introduces it into the conversation, nevertheless it’s an incredibly important part of the testing process. Probes are used to simulate children’s appendages – fingers, thumbs, arms, legs and the head, all accounted for. The bits that children tend to like placing where they shouldn’t and, in some cases, getting stuck.
Michael showed us how these probes are used to determine whether babies can squeeze their way through cot bars. If your little one is constantly trying and failing to re-enact the Great Escape, then you have probes to thank. Bet you never thought we’d say that, did you? Obviously some gaps can still fit a child’s hand or arm through, but we work very hard to make sure there is no way little ones can hurt themselves or get to a point where they are in danger of getting stuck.
If we got rid of the bars altogether, they’ve be out of bed and down the road faster than you could say “Steve McQueen”. Likewise, if we blocked up the gaps they’d be sleeping in something that wouldn’t pass many Human Rights Laws, so we have to strike a happy medium. This way we know baby can see you, sleep and play, while remaining safe.
Michael also showed us his ball and chain. Don’t worry, it’s actually a very clever device used to highlight any unwanted edges. Many cot-based accidents can occur when little ones snag clothing or, crucially, ribbons attached to their dummy. This can lead to quite serious safety issues for baby, which is why all of our cots and furniture are designed to have no protrusions. Michael’s ball and chain help to address these problems before products go to market. It would also work very well as a disco ball but he wouldn’t let us try it.
Finally there’s a machine that we never caught the name of, but we’ve taken to calling it ‘The Destroyer’. A cot is placed in its clutches and then bashed – to use the technical term – repeatedly from five different angles, to test how well it would cope against increased pressure. It’s the equivalent of ganging up on a bed and kicking it constantly, but the results speak for themselves. Michael assures us that no product he has tested with it has collapsed under the pressure. Good to know!
Now you know how safe our cots are, we hope this helps you to relax when putting baby down for the night. Why not check out our range of ‘batter-proof’ cots, here.
We’ll have more Test Lab Tales for you soon…