Poorly Portacots and Dodgy Dollarmites - We Look At 2018's Shonky Products For Kids

  • Parents Only

By: Alex Harmon, ellaslist

Hold onto your hats, the annual CHOICE Shonky Awards are back with their Hall of Shame for 2018. As usual, us parents are the ones with the wool being pulled over our eyes with many of the products aimed at children and families. 

The Shonky Awards began in 2006 as a way of calling out some of the shonkiest products and companies taking advantage of Australian consumers each year. Let's have a drum roll (or a loud boooooo) for the winners losers of 2018 that you might just have at home:

Commonwealth Bank Dollarmites

But wait, teaching our kids about saving money is a good thing! Yes, it is when it's done ethically - a Fairfax investigation recently revealed that thousands of Commonwealth Bank (CBA) staff fraudulently manipulated Dollarmites youth accounts for personal financial gain. Not to mention the 'get them in early' attitude the CBA has for its future bankers. Financial Counselling Australia chief executive Fiona Guthrie said banks should not be teaching children branded financial literacy.

Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Smash

While we should expect nothing less from the Nutri-Grain line, the Nutri-Grain Banana & Honey Smash Protein Squeezer has outdone itself with 14.7g – or 3.5 teaspoons – of total sugar per packet and just 5.6 grams of protein. Promising "a delicious thick and creamy breakfast blend of oatmeal, banana and honey", Kellogg's Nutri-Grain has been blamed for "healthwashing" us in the supermarket aisles. 

Marriott timeshare

Think a holiday timeshare scheme will save you money on your future family vacations? Think again. CHOICE investigated five popular timeshare programs – the Accor Vacation Club, Classic Holiday, Ultiqa Lifestyle, Wyndham WorldMark South Pacific Club and the Marriott Vacation Club – and the financial outcomes they uncovered were shocking. 

The shonkiest of a very bad bunch is the Marriott Vacation Club International, which has a contract term over 40 years in length. They found that visiting a two-bedroom apartment on the Gold Coast for one week in high season will cost a whopping $450,001 over the contract lifetime, and $154,823 is due in the first five years. This was 938% more expensive than similar accommodation sourced on an online booking site, which cost $14,907 in the five-year period for comparable holiday accommodation. Yikes. 

So Many Unsafe Portacots

Since 2011 CHOICE has tested 60 portacots and the vast majority have failed to meet minimum safety requirements. They found some mattresses that aren’t firm enough to provide a safe sleep surface, and gaps around the side that could trap a child’s head. 

After Big W's Dymples Portacot failed their most recent round of portable cot testing, Big W issued a recall. However these ones also failed, and alarmingly, are still on the market:

  • 4baby
  • Babyco
  • Babyhood
  • Baby Björn
  • Baby Solutions (Kmart)
  • Childcare
  • Elite Baby
  • Ingenuity
  • Joie
  • Love N Care
  • Phil & Teds
  • Steelcraft
  • Target
  • Vee Bee.

For the complete list of Shonky products, click here.

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