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What does 40 Years of Kidsafe look like?

40 anniv

Pictured: Warwick Teague, Steve Dimopoulos MP, The Hon Jenny Mikakos Minister for Health; Melanie Courtney; Kidsafe CEO, Erica Edmands, Kidsafe President and Matt Welsh, OAM.

Kidsafe Australia was founded in 1979, a year when the average wage was $149, Sony released the first Walkman, McDonald's introduced the "Happy meal", Carlton downed Collingwood in the VFL grand final and the cost of a litre of milk was $0.30.

Kidsafe was established to focus the attention of policy makers and the community at large on the need for improved child safety measures. In 1979 there were 705 child deaths as a result of unintentional and often preventable injuries. To put it in perspective, that's equivalent to a full A380 plane of our previously healthy children, who died from ‘accidents’ such as drowning, falls, car crashes and choking.

Since Kidsafe’s establishment, the number of children in Australia killed by unintentional injury has reduced by over 60% to 170 deaths each year. However, this is still over 3 children a week losing their lives to preventable injuries. Put simply, that's 3 lives too many and 3 families who go home without their previously healthy child.

Through partnerships with government, local councils, community organisations, industry and other not for profit groups, we have helped save the lives of thousands of children by empowering families and carers with evidence-based, practical strategies and knowledge on how to keep their children safe.

Celebrating 40 years of Kidsafe
To celebrate our achievements over the past 40 years and acknowledge those who have supported our vision of making a safer world for kids, we held a celebratory breakfast at Hotel Windsor on the 19th of November. We were joined by the Minister for Health, the Hon Jenny Mikakos, the Director of Trauma Services at the Royal Children's Hospital, Warwick Teague, as well as advocates, partners, volunteers, friends and families.

To view more photos from our 40th anniversary event please see our Facebook Album

While we are extremely proud of our achievements over the past 40 years, injury is still the leading cause of death in Australian children aged 1-14 years. We know we have made a real difference to Australian families; we know our work saves lives – however, there is still much to be done.

We welcome your support to help us achieve our vision for a future free from childhood injury and death, so that children can become happy, active adults.

How can you help?
>Share our resources with friends, family and loved ones.
>Like us on Facebook and Twitter receive important updates
>Take time to perform a safety audit on your home and homes where your children visit.
>Make a tax deductible donation to Kidsafe Victoria.

Kidsafe Vic would like to say a special thank you to Fretzy Kookie for providing us with these amazing cookies and to The Cheesecake Shop Melbourne City for providing us with this fantastic cake for our 40th anniversary! They not only looked great, but they were delicious too!

cake    DSC4732

Without the support of local businesses like these, our 40th event would not have been possible.

Spooktacular Safety Tips for Halloween

halloween  IMG 3889

Halloween can be an exciting time of year for children, dressing up and going out after dark to collect treats. Being mindful of potential hazards can help to make sure that everyone has a fun, spooky and safe Halloween.

Holly (9) and her younger brother Connor (5), love Halloween and plan their costumes months in advance “this year I’m dressing up as Cleaver the Clown, it’s pretty scary but I love it” said an enthusiastic Holly. 

Their Mum Brodie loves seeing the delight that Halloween brings to her children, however she is also aware of the potential dangers involved with excited and unpredictable children (including the sugar rush!) and what can be done to ensure that everyone has a good time.

“It does get a little chaotic, so before we leave the house we remind our kids about our important safety rules, such as waiting for an adult before crossing the road, staying on the footpaths and looking out for cars in driveways”, said Brodie.

“We start trick or treating early, around 5:00pm, when there is still plenty of daylight - this way the kids are more visible and there are also more families walking together.”

“We always ensure that a trusted adult accompanies the children and that there is more than one adult if extra kids join our group.''

Adding some safety planning to your Halloween ‘to do’ list can help to ensure that the whole family can enjoy the night. We have put together some tips to help you in your preparations.

Kidsafe Victoria’s Halloween Safety Tips

Get clever with costumes

  • No matter how cool your child’s costume may be, it shouldn’t forego safety. The brighter the better; avoid costumes that are dark in colour, or apply reflective tape to your child’s costume, to ensure they can be seen easily.
  • Masks can make it harder for children to see, or to hear traffic - face paint is a good alternative when considering costume options.
  • Limit sharp and pointy accessories such as wands, swords and knives, which can pose safety hazards.
  • Avoid long costumes that drag on the ground and can pose a trip hazard.

 Trick or treat with care

  • Review safety rules, including staying with the group and crossing the road at designated pedestrian crossings.
  • Avoid long costumes that drag on the ground and can pose a trip hazard.
  • Before crossing roads, always look both ways and make sure an adult is supervising.
  • Be careful in and around driveways - driveways pose the same hazards as roads, so it’s important that children are always supervised by adults and that drivers take care.
  • If you are driving on Halloween, be sure to take extra care and watch for children crossing the street.

Other Safety tips

  • Be button battery aware. Novelty items that flash, make sounds or light up often contain these batteries - products that don’t have secure battery compartments should be kept out of the sight and reach of children.
  • If you are decorating pumpkins, leave carving to an adult and let the kids decorate them in other ways such as drawing designs with markers or using glitter.
  • Use candles with care - never leave candles unattended or near flammable items like curtains and make sure they are out of reach of children.
  • Watch out for treats that might pose a choking hazard for young children, like hard lollies, marshmallows or chewing gum. It’s best to avoid eating while walking or running, so you may want to save up all the treats to enjoy back at home.

Enjoy the fun this Halloween and stay safe to ensure everyone has a wicked time.

Choking or Gagging?

By Tiny Hearts Education

Have you ever watched your child shove a whole bunch of food in their mouth, only to spit it out five seconds later? You’re not alone. Most parents believe this is their child choking and coughing it back up, but most of the time, your child is actually gagging. This reflex action helps to prevent choking! 

So, What is Gagging?

The gag reflex is a contraction of the back of the throat triggered by an object touching the roof of the mouth, the back of the tongue or the back of the throat. In babies, this is often triggered by fingers, food, spoons or even toys touching the back of the mouth. 

When the reflex is activated, it thrusts objects forward towards the opening of the mouth, expelling any substances that the brain has deemed harmful - cool, huh? 

A child’s gag reflex often diminishes at around six months of age, which is generally when most babies are learning to eat solid food. Allowing your child to feed independently and explore their hands and toys with their mouths will also help to dwindle the reflex. Some little ones are a bit more sensitive though and have what is known as a ‘hypersensitive’ gag reflex and as a result, will gag more easily. 

Gagging is super common amongst infants - especially when they are making the transition from smooth to lumpy foods, or when learning to chew. Because gagging is a crucial part of oral motor skill development, please don’t overact when your child gags. Positive reinforcement is key so that gagging can become a learnt behaviour. If your child gags, just move the item of food out of the way and cuddle them (no panic party!) 

If you haven’t caught on already, gagging is not the same as choking. 

Choking is caused by an object that blocks the airway and prevents breathing. When this happens, it’s often silent compared to gagging where children will make retching noises. To learn more about choking click here to download a free PDF fact sheet.

While gagging is part of a bub’s development, choking can be life-threatening, which is why you need to supervise your children at all times - especially during meal and play times. If your child does ever choke, make sure you administer first aid as soon as possible. 

Choking First Aid

PARTIAL OBSTRUCTION: 

If your child has an effective cough, use gravity and lean them forward. Encourage them to keep coughing. If the obstruction cannot be cleared you must call 000. If they lose their forceful cough use the next technique for a complete obstruction. 

COMPLETE OBSTRUCTION: If your child does not have an effective cough you should: 

  • DRSABCD 
  • Call 000 
  • Place your child in a head down position - infant (under 1 year old) across your lap and child (1 - 8 years old) sitting or standing up 
  • Give up to five back blows using the heel of one hand, in between the shoulder blades. Short and sharp. Check the airway between each back blow to see if the obstruction has cleared. 

Choking1

Choking2

IF YOUR CHILD IS STILL CHOKING: 

Give up to five chest thrusts using two fingers (one hand for a child), in the middle of the chest between the nipples. Short and sharp. Check the airway between each chest thrust to see if the obstruction has cleared.

IF YOUR CHILD IS STILL CHOKING: 

Alternate between five back blows and five chest thrusts until the obstruction is cleared (checking the airway to see if it has cleared in between each back blow or chest thrust), paramedics arrive, or until they render unconscious. If they render unconscious you must start CPR.


Note: The obstruction may clear during CPR compressions. If this occurs roll your child on their side and clear the mouth of the foreign object. 

While the above is super helpful and will help in a choking emergency, it is no comparison to learning these skills in real life. The Tiny Hearts First Aid course guides parents through choking first aid and gives you ample time to practise your skills on manikins. To view dates or to book, click here.

 

Three hospital admissions in three months - Living life on a farm with four boys

hallams

There is never a dull moment at the Hallam household, especially when you add four fearless and adventurous boys under 9 years of age to the mix. Life is full of adventure living on their country farm, located in northern Victoria. Not a day goes by when the boys are not outside running free, playing in mud, helping with the farm chores and enjoying the experiences that farm life has to offer.

As exciting and charming growing up in a rural setting can be, children in regional areas are at greater risk of suffering from an injury or injury related death. New statistics from the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit’s (VISU) ‘Hazard’ report reveals that child (0-14 years) injury related death rates in outer regional areas of Victoria are four times that of rates for children in major cities.

Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria, highlighted the unique environments and hazards that were present for children on farms and in regional areas, saying “farms typically combine the family home and an industrial workplace, which means children are exposed to a wide range of hazards that aren’t present in urban home environments.”

“Common injury hazards for children on farms include machinery, vehicles (e.g. tractors, motorbikes and quad bikes), animals, water hazards (e.g. dams, rivers, creeks and animal drinking troughs) and poisons (e.g. pesticides),'' said Mr Chambers.

Mum Cherie knows this only too well - in the last three months she has made three emergency hospital visits due to unintentional injuries inflicted on her family’s farm.
One of these involved her five-year-old son. Denzel and his brothers were playing in the barn where the recently harvested lentil crop was stored. Over the course of several days, unbeknown to his Mum, he proceeded to eat handfuls of the dried crop. He was warned by his brother Parker to stop before he got sick, however this warning fell on deaf ears. Soon after Denzel started to complain of severe pains in his stomach, which was by now visibly swollen.

The family presented to the local hospital emergency department where Denzel was then transferred to a larger hospital with the concern of bowel obstruction. He spent the next three days undergoing treatment to clear the obstruction. Whilst his Mum can laugh about it now, she was unaware that legumes could even be considered a hazard. Whilst Denzel still admits to still “really loving lentils”, given the graphic details Cherie encountered during the clean out process, she never wants to see another one again.

Cherie and her husband Patrick have educated their children from a young age about potential hazards on their farm and have taught them clear rules and guidelines. Farm safety resonates strongly with the family given that Patrick himself had a near miss drowning incident in his family farm's dam at 18 months old.

Some of the rules and measures they have put in place to help keep their kids safe include:

  • Locking all chemicals and pesticides away in a shed.
  • Identifying the dam as an area not to play in without an adult.
  • Slowing down when driving vehicles on the property to ensure that no children are in the vicinity.
  • Cherie has undertaken a first aid course.
    They have created age appropriate jobs for the children and restricted involvement in dangerous tasks.

This National Farm Safety Week, Kidsafe Victoria is encouraging all families to follow the Hallam’s and have a conversation about safety and what can be done ensure their children can live, grow, learn and play safely on their farm.


This article has been released for National Farm Safety Week (21 st – 26 th July 2019), which is held each year to raise awareness of farm safety issues across Australia. For more information on farm safety, please visit our Parent's Guide to Kidsafe Farms
resource

 

The Best Offence Is A Good Defence’ – Is Your Home Pool Defence Set For Summer?

SafeBarriersSaveLives

Summer has arrived and the holidays are just around the corner, which means spending time relaxing and celebrating with family and friends. Before the festivities can start, there are a lot of things to cross off of your holiday checklist – organising presents, food, and holiday plans are often top of the list, however what about setting your home pool defence?

This summer, we are reminding parents and carers that when it comes to backyard pool safety, ‘the best offence is a good defence’. You don’t have to have the tactical nous of a professional sports coach or a lineup of big strong defenders to form a solid home pool defence – there are a few key things we can all do to ensure our defence is in place and ready to keep children safe:

  1. Active adult supervision: children need to be actively supervised by an adult at all times when in and around water – for toddlers, this means having an adult within arms’ reach. At busy pool parties and BBQ’s, it can often be easy to think that someone else is watching the kids when in fact, nobody is. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have designated supervisors whose role it is to watch the kids in and around water – this role can be shared throughout the day so that everyone has a chance to relax and enjoy themselves.
  2. A compliant pool barrier: simply having a barrier around your pool or spa is not enough on its own to keep children safe. A large number of swimming pool drowning incidents are a result of faulty or non-compliant pool barriers. Common faults or non-compliance issues include gates/doors that are no longer self closing or self latching, gates that are propped open, climbable objects near the barrier (e.g. pot plants, BBQ’s, outdoor furniture etc.) and excess space under the barrier. To make sure your pool or spa barrier is still in good working condition, regular inspections and maintenance are necessary.
  3. Water awareness: water familiarisation and swimming lessons are an important part in introducing children to water, explaining water safety and building their confidence and skills.
  4. First aid/CPR knowledge: undertaking a first aid course is recommended for all parents and carers. Hopefully they are skills that you will never have to use, however undertaking a course will help you to be prepared if the worst does happen. It’s also a good idea to have a CPR/first aid sign in your pool or spa area as a reminder.

By taking the time to plan and set your home pool defence, you can help ensure that everyone has a safe and happy summer holiday period.

For more information on our ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ backyard pool safety campaign, and to access a comprehensive home pool safety assessment tool from Life Saving Victoria, please visit https://www.kidsafevic.com.au/water-safety/pool-fence-safety.

The ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign is proudly supported by SPASA Victoria, Safetech Hardware, Protector Aluminium and the Victorian Pool Check and Compliance Agency.

 

Gas safety in the home — a vital step to add into your home safety checklist

The Chase and Tyler FoundationBy Vanessa Robinson

Date: 22/08/2018

On the 30th of May 2010, the life that I knew was instantly gone.

It was a typical Saturday in May when I put Chase and Tyler to bed. The autumn nights were cold, and I left the gas heater on to keep the house warm. In the middle of the night the boys became unsettled, so they came into my room and went back to sleep with me. That was the last time I saw my children alive — they never woke up.

Unbeknownst to me, the gas wall heater in our rental property was faulty and it hadn’t been serviced for years, this combined with the fact there was no ventilation in the house — which is critical when operating an open flued gas wall heater. The heater spilled out a poisonous gas called carbon monoxide into our home, which killed both of my sons and left me — after spending a month and a half in hospital, with permanent, debilitating health problems (not to mention the never-ending emotional impacts).

I had thought like any other parent that my children were safe in their own home. I followed the checklists and read as much safety information as possible provided by parenting websites and magazines, and in all those years I never came across anything that indicated a gas heater could be deadly.

After the accident, I realised that we had massive gaps in Australia when it came to gas and fuel burning appliance safety and carbon monoxide awareness. In fact, I was beyond shocked that there was such a substantial risk within the majority of our homes and hardly anyone was aware of the dangers.

I couldn't stand by and watch this happen to another family, so therefore in 2011, I founded the Chase and Tyler Foundation in honour of my children.

Facts and preventative methods 

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane and natural gas.

Who is at risk from carbon monoxide?

All people and animals are at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Certain groups such as pregnant women, unborn babies, children, the elderly and people with chronic heart disease, anaemia, or respiratory problems are more susceptible to its effects.

Symptoms

Knowing what to look out for is the first step in combating carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide can often be mistaken for viral infections or the flu.

When carbon monoxide is inhaled, it replaces oxygen in the blood, which may cause symptoms including headaches, drowsiness, shortness of breath, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, weakness, confusion, chest pain or collapse. High levels can cause loss of consciousness and death.

Preventative measures

  • Service all gas and fuel-burning appliances every 1 – 2 years by a qualified gasfitter
  • Never block ventilation and always make sure there is enough fresh air in the room while operating your gas or fuel burning appliance
  • Minimise the use of exhaust fans at the same time open flued gas heaters are used. Using exhaust fans in the kitchen or bathroom can create negative pressure and lead to gas heater emissions being sucked back into the house rather than allowing them to be exhausted to the outside air
  • Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm within your home
  • Ensure all chimneys and flues are swept and inspected annually
  • Never bring an outdoor gas or fuel-burning appliance inside your home/tent or caravan
  • Never leave your car’s engine running idle in an attached garage to your home

By following these simple tips, you can help protect you and your family from the silent killer, carbon monoxide.  

The Chase and Tyler Foundation is the only not for profit charity within Australia, dedicated to providing a national preventative health and safety effort on domestic gas and fuel burning appliance safety, carbon monoxide poisoning prevention and energy poverty.

For more information on gas and fuel burning appliance safety and carbon monoxide poisoning please visit www.chaseandtyler.org.au

 

Trampoline safety

Trampoline check mat for holes

Do you have fond memories of the fun that bouncing away on the trampoline provided as a kid? If you do, you might also have some stories of injuries that happened while playing on or near the trampoline, or maybe even some scars of your own to show.

Trampolines are a great way for children to have fun, exercise and develop their coordination skills. However, they are also involved in a large number of child injuries. Every year, thousands of Australian children are injured when using trampolines, with kids under 5 at greatest risk. Common injuries include cuts, sprains, fractures, bruises and head injuries.

The good news is that there are some simple tips you can follow to reduce the risk of injury to your child when they are on or near a trampoline.

  1. Supervision

Supervising children when they are on or near the trampoline is the best way to help keep them safe. Kids often like to hide or play underneath the trampoline, so it’s important to keep them away when it is in use.

It’s also a good idea to set some rules for your children when using the trampoline - bare feet only, no bouncing against the net and do not use when wet are good rules to set early on.

  1. Safety padding

Safety padding is important as it protects children from injury if they fall and hit the metal frame or springs of the trampoline.

  1. Regularly check the condition of the trampoline

Trampolines often sit out in the open, which means that they are exposed to the rain, hail, wind and sunshine. They are also a favourite piece of equipment that get a lot of use, which makes it important to regularly check to ensure that everything is in good condition, including that the:

  • Mat and net don’t have any holes
  • Springs are intact and securely attached at both ends
  • Frame is not bent
  • Leg braces are locked.
  1. Set up the trampoline in a safe spot

A lot of trampoline related injuries happen when a child is getting off of the trampoline, or when children bounce into objects that are near the trampoline. To help reduce the risk of injury, make sure:

  • The area around the trampoline is free from hazards like walls, fences or garden furniture
  • There is a thick layer of soft, impact-absorbing material – for example pine bark or wood chips - at least 2.5 metres wide in the area under and around the trampoline.
  • There is plenty of room overhead (at least 8 metres from ground level is recommended) to avoid children bouncing into objects like clotheslines, trees and wires.

By following some of these simple tips, you can help to ensure that your child has endless hours of safe bouncing fun!

For more information, tips and advice on trampoline safety please visit the websites below:

https://www.productsafety.gov.au/news/trampoline-safety-its-flippin-important

https://www.choice.com.au/babies-and-kids/children-and-safety/toys-and-safety-at-play/buying-guides/trampoline

 

Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian Safety

Walking is part of our everyday lives, whether that be walking around the shops, walking to school or kinder with the kids, or taking a family walk to the park on a sunny afternoon with the dog. For children, taking their first step is a big milestone and a sign of their increasing independence. Once children learn to walk you will often find that they want to walk everywhere and will sometimes insist that they don’t need help from Mum, Dad or any other adult to do so!

While walking is great for health and fitness, being a pedestrian in a traffic environment does involve a number of hazards, especially for young children.

Why are child pedestrians at risk?

Roads are designed with adults in mind, however children aren’t ‘little adults’. They don’t have as much traffic experience or knowledge and are physically and cognitively less developed than adults.

A few examples of how children’s development and traffic experience places them at greater risk:

  • Have you ever played a game of hide and seek where a child is hiding and they think because they can’t see you, you can’t see them…. However they have and arm or leg hanging out of their hiding spot that you can easily see?! The opposite applies here – children think that because they can see the car, truck, motorbike or bicycle that the driver will be able to see them. The reality is that children’s small size makes it harder for drivers to see them, particularly if they are behind objects like parked cars or bushes.
  • They tend to only look ahead and often only notice one thing at a time. It could be their ball bouncing away, a dog on the other side of the road or something else that they find interesting and important and run towards to take a closer look, not realising the oncoming traffic.
  • They can’t tell where sounds are coming from or judge speed and distance – this can cause them to think they can make it across the other side of the road before the car gets to them.

What can parents and carers do to help children to be safe pedestrians?

The good news is that there are some simple things you can do to help keep your children safe in and around traffic and prepare them to be safe pedestrians:

  • Like with many other topics, supervision of children is the key to helping to keep them safe.
  • Hold your child’s hand when near traffic, especially when crossing the road. 
  • Dress them in brightly coloured clothes to help them be seen by other road users.
  • Children love to mimic what adults do, so setting a good example when crossing the road is one of the easiest ways to teach them how to be a safety pedestrian.
  • Explain what you are doing, why it is important and how it keeps you safe when you are crossing the road together. Teach children to “Stop, Look, Listen and Think” before crossing the road and explain what this means. As children get older you can explain words like “fast”, “slow”, “near” and “far”. Talk about road signs, traffic lights and safe and dangerous places to cross the road.
  • Providing supervised experience in using the road safely as a part of the journeys your family takes every day can help them to build their traffic knowledge and skills. This could include making the trip to kinder, school or the local park together along the safest footpaths and use safe crossing places as an example for your child to follow.

Research shows that children under age 12 do not have the skills and experience to be safe in traffic, so while children will become more independent in their travel as they become older,  it is still important to provide supervision and regularly talk about and practice pedestrian safety behaviours.

For more information, tips and advice on pedestrian safety, please visit https://www.kidsafevic.com.au/road-safety/pedestrian-safety

 

 

Top 5 Tips for Poisoning Prevention

Unintentional poisoning is one of the leading causes of injury and hospital admissions for children in Australia, with the greatest risk for those ages one to three years. Many common household products can be harmful to children, these include medications, cleaning products, dishwasher powder, fertilisers, pesticides, bleaches and cosmetics. Here are our top 5 tips for poisoning prevention:

1.      Store all poisons up high and out of reach

Always store all poisonous products at least 1.5 metres off the ground in a lockable cupboard. Ensure that medications and chemicals are stored in separate safe areas.

2.      Keep refrigerated medications separate from food products

If medicines need to be kept in the fridge, use a small, portable, lockable container for them.

3.      Always leave cleaning products and other chemicals in their original containers

Never transfer chemicals and detergents to other containers like soft drink bottles, keep them in their original packaging and make sure that they are clearly labelled.

4.      Wait to put dishwashing powder in the dishwasher when you are ready to put it on

Never prefill the dishwasher with dishwashing powder or liquid and ensure that the dishwasher door is kept closed to restrict curious kids’ access.

5.      Keep handbags out of reach of children

Many people keep products that can be dangerous to children in their handbags, this includes medications, cosmetics and perfumes. Make sure to keep handbags up high and out of reach of children and to remind guests to do so.

For more tips on poisoning prevention and treatment information, please visit https://www.kidsafevic.com.au/images/stories/2013/poisoning_factsheet.pdf

Keeping your kids safe when visiting a farm

Scott Garrett's Farm

While the beach is a popular getaway spot during summer, the farm is a favourite all year round holiday spot for many Australian families. Visiting a farm can be an amazing opportunity for kids to learn, explore and play; there’s the fresh country air, wide open spaces and plenty of animals to see.

For those of us who don’t live on a farm, it can be easy to forget that farms are not just a home, but in many cases they are also a workplace. There can be large animals (a lot larger than your typical family cat or dog!), machinery (like tractors and motorbikes) and different bodies of water (like dams and animal drinking troughs). This means that farms present a number of unique hazards that you wouldn’t find in a typical suburban home.

In Victoria, around 9 children per week are treated in hospital for an injury that occurred on a farm. National injury information suggests that around ¼ of child farm injury deaths are accounted for by children who are visiting the farm.

Key farm hazards to look out for include:

Water safety - farms can be home to many different bodies of water such as dams, tanks, creeks, rivers, pools and troughs;

Farm machinery and vehicles -the weight, ability to gain speed, potential to tip and sharp attachments, make farm machinery and vehicles particularly dangerous for children.

Farm animals there are several ways a farm animal can injure a child or adult including kicking, biting, crush injuries and injuries received from falling off an animal.

Poisoning chemicals are used a lot on farms to run machines, keep animals healthy, spraying weeds and insects and to keep things clean.

The good news is that whether you are visiting or live on a farm, there are some simple precautions you can take to make sure everyone stays safe.

Having a safe play area on a farm is a great way to reduce children’s access to the kinds of hazards mentioned above. If you are looking to set up a safe play area, it is recommended that the area:

  • Is close to the home and clearly visible.
  • Is securely fenced with solid or vertical railing, no foot holes for children to climb and child resistant latches on gates.
  • Is away from hazards such as dams, machinery, poisons and driveways
  • Provides shaded areas.

For more information on farm safety, check out some of the videos, posters and illustrated stories that primary school children across Victoria came up with as part of our farm safety creative competition!

 

Our Valuables Should Never Be Left in the Car

Take your kids with you banner

Have you seen the video with former AFL champion Matthew Richardson about not leaving our valuables in the car? If not, you should check it out. This summer has seen some of the hottest days in Australia for the past two years.  Leaving children unattended in cars is never safe, however in these sweltering temperatures, the Kidsafe message to never leave kids in cars is particularly important.

Even on mild days the temperature inside parked cars can reach 20-30 degrees hotter than outside in a matter of minutes. That means that on a typical summer day, the temperature inside a parked can easily reach over 60 degrees.

Ambulance Victoria figures show that 225 children were left unattended in cars during December 2017, which is almost a 40 per cent increase on the same period the previous year.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the majority of children left unattended in car incidents are unintentional – common scenarios include children locking themselves inside the car after being given the keys to play with (e.g. when a parent or carer is packing or unpacking the car) and newer cars self-locking with the keys inside. There have also been incidents in Australia and around the world where parents or carers have unknowingly left a child in a car.

It’s important to keep your keys on you at all times to reduce the risk of them becoming locked inside the car; you can also get into the habit of setting a ‘look before you leave’ routine or putting items such as a handbag/ briefcase on the back seat as a reminder, to help make sure nobody is forgotten when you get out of the car.

Together with these strategies, Kidsafe Victoria is working with the Victorian Government and Ambulance Victoria as part of the recently launched Never Leave Kids in Cars campaign. The campaign raises awareness of the dangers of leaving children unattended in cars, reminding parents that their most precious valuables - their children - should never be left alone in the car.

The campaign involves a number of resources, including the clever video featuring Richo demonstrates how a trip into the shops often takes longer than we think.

To view the campaign video and other related resources, please click here.

How to check the fit of your child’s helmet

When learning to ride a bike, scooter, skateboard or even rollerblades, it is inevitable that children will have a few falls. While bumps and scrapes are a part of growing up – serious head injuries are not.

To protect their head in an impact, children (and adults) need to be wearing a properly fitted helmet when riding any wheeled device. Wearing a helmet that is the correct size for the child can reduce their risk of receiving a serious head injury by up to 90% in a collision.

bike

Image source: Pixabay

But what does properly fitted actually mean?

When checking the fit of your child’s helmet, there a few key things to look out for:

  • Does the helmet fit snugly on the child’s head?
  • Does the helmet sit level on the child’s head? The helmet should be one or two finger widths above their eyebrow.
  • Is the left buckle centred underneath the child’s chin?
  • Have the straps been adjusted so that they form a “V” shape under and slightly in front of the ears.
  • Is the buckle tightened so that it is snug? You should not be able to fit any more than one or two fingers between the child’s chin and the strap.

Don’t forget that helmets need to comply with the Australian Standard AS/NZS 2063. This should be displayed on both the packaging and the helmet itself. While it might be tempting to use a second hand helmet, helmets are only designed for single impact protection, and damage sustained in an accident may not be visible.

It is also important to care for your child’s helmet. This means keeping it out of direct sunlight and washing it with soap and water. Cleaning agents or exposure to the sun could damage the helmet and reduce the level of protection it provides your child in an accident.

Finally, always enforce the golden rule of NO HELMET, NO RIDE.

What wheeled device safety rules do you have in your home?

Child safety is no accident

Losing a child. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. Many people are surprised when they hear that unintentional injuries are one of the leading causes of death and hospitalisation for Australian children. Every year in Australia, approximately 150 child die, and more than 60,000 are admitted to hospital due to a serious injury.

When we talk about unintentional injuries, we are talking about incidents that are commonly referred to as accidents. However, when they happen at the rate they currently are, they can no longer be categorised as accidents.  We are not talking about cuts and bruises from normal rough and tumble that all children partake in. We are talking about the serious injuries that can impact upon a child’s lifelong development. And these incidents can occur in just a split second.

The leading causes of injury related death for children include drowning, transport related incidents and choking and suffocation. The major causes of injury requiring hospital treatment include falls, being hit/struck or crushed, transport related injuries, burns and scalds and poisoning.

While the statistics are frightening, they are an important reminder as to how critical injury prevention really is. Kidsafe Australia has been providing parents and carers with injury prevention information, advice and support since their establishment in 1979 by a concerned group of paediatricians who wanted to make a difference.

At this time, statistics showed that approximately 750 children died every year in Australia from unintentional injury. This has since been reduced to 150 and Kidsafe is proud to have played a leading role in making this impact. While this reduction is a great achievement, there is still work to be done - Kidsafe are continuously working to further reduce this figure and create a safer world for children.

Kidsafe strongly believe that all children need to grow up in a stimulating and challenging environment that enables them to develop to their full potential. It is important for parents and carers to remember that cuts and bruises from exploration and active play are a normal part of development. However, it is also important to remember that children are unable to make accurate risk assessments at such a young age, highlighting the significance of providing a safe environment for them to live, grow and play.

The reality is that life threatening incidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and Australia has seen its share of tragedies. Last financial year, there were 29 toddler drowning incidents; every year approximately seven toddlers are fatally run over in driveways – and these don’t take into account those children who survive yet experience serious lifelong implications.  

Many common household items can also pose a significant hazard to children – looped curtain and blind cords (strangulation hazard), TV’s and bookcases (crush injuries) and electronic devices containing button batteries. The good news is that there are steps that can be taken to help keep kids safe.

Kidsafe aims to work with government, industry and the community to empower parents and carers to provide children with an environment that not only stimulates their development, but also reduces their risk of serious injury. 

Because at the end of the day, child safety is no accident.

 

SAFE BARRIERS SAVE LIVES

matt welsh

Blog contributed by Olympian, father of four and 'Safe Barriers Save Lives' campaign ambassador, Matt Welsh.

Spring is here and we are starting to (happily) wave goodbye to the winter chill.  It means that those long and warm summer days will be here before we know it and for most of us, those days will be filled with time spent outdoors, BBQ’s, holidays and of course… swimming.

As an Olympic swimmer, I have a great love for the water and believe that pools and spas can be a great addition to any household – especially to help cool off on those hot summer days. However, I am also aware of the potential dangers that the water can pose – particularly to young children.

Being a father of four, I am a strong advocate for safety in and around water for children of all ages.

A crucial point to always remember is that active adult supervision is the key to keeping children safe around water. It is important to remain within arm’s reach of children at all times - 20 seconds is all it takes for a toddler to drown.   

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children under 5 in Australia, with the home being the most common location for drowning incidents to occur.

So, as we roll into summer we need to ask ourselves - are our backyard pools and spas ready to be used safely?

Simply having a barrier around your pool or spa does not make it a safe space. Like many things around the home such as your car and even your heater, a regular service is necessary to ensure everything is still in working order. Your pool or spa barrier is no different.

In fact, a large number of swimming pool drownings incidents are a result of faulty or non-compliant pool fencing.

To make sure your pool or spa barrier is still in good working condition – regular maintenance is necessary. Over time, the functionality of your barrier can be affected by the weather and general wear and tear. It only takes 15 minutes to check your barrier thoroughly using Royal Life Saving Society Australia pool fencing app.

So, this daylight savings were inviting everyone to join the Kidsafe pool party (https://www.facebook.com/events/269682460185586/ ).

It’s not your regular pool party – it’s only going to last a few minutes and it’s going to save lives!

THE KIDSAFE POOL PARTY 01.10.17. Save the date. It’s the date that saves.

 

Identifying when your child's car safety seat isn’t safe

Child restraint blog pic

Blog contributed by Rob Newman, Director of the Australian Child Restraint Resource Initiative (ACRI).

So you think your child’s safety seat may be incorrect?

Passenger safety is easy in theory, but our road travelling community is often incorrectly influenced by perceptions of what is safe and what isn’t. This can seriously disadvantage parents and carers when making safe use decisions for their children.

How can you tell what to look for?

In general terms, misperceptions of what constitutes risks to safety are where all misuse practices begin. ACRI is confronted with this challenge everyday across all manner of community exposures and workplaces. To help address this challenge at least two key perspectives need to be clarified.

Although a variety of marketing messages revolve around the child’s age and comfort factors, best practices reflect something else.

  • Age has nothing to do with a safe environment; Suitability of the Safety Seat to the child’s size is paramount.
  • Comfort has very little to do with safety: In fact they are often at odds with each other.

Once we have these factors clear we can focus on what matters most, which involves two areas: Attachment to the vehicle and the correct daily use.

  1. The attachment of the Safety Seat to your vehicle. - Australian Child Safety Seats demand a three point anchoring method.
  • The vehicles seat belt or ISOFIX provides the two lower attachment points.
  • The Upper Tether Strap, connected to the correct vehicle anchorage point provides the third point.
  • All slackness of any and all attachment straps should be removed and some vehicle seat cushion compression used to ensure ‘reliable attachment’.
  • Monitoring of all of the above are required for ‘every trip’.
  1. The correct use of the Safety Seat - There are many factors - ensure all are correct.
  • Babies and small children must travel rear facing - How long is that for?
  • As long as the Safety Seat instructions say you can - just read the limit instructions*.
  • Offering protection from side impact risks.
  • Possibly use the centre seat position in the vehicle
  • If your Safety Seat has an adjustable head protection device, ensure it is positioned correctly.
  • Securing your child into their safety seat reliably. - What ensures that the harness is used correctly?
  • All passengers must have lower body restraint - as low as possible on their torso and upper body restraint - as close to the shoulder height as possible.
  • Straps and belts should be kept away from vulnerable neck / head areas
  • Remove all looseness or slack from the harness - Your child should be aware that they are wearing it - Do not leave it loose. (NB: It is difficult to over-tighten most harnesses, but always ensure there is breathing space of a couple of fingers clearance)*

Monitoring all above aspects are always required for ‘every trip’.

For some families there are a number of challenges that may make the above activities difficult to achieve. Not all Child Car Safety Seats are easy to use, even the instructions can be difficult to interpret. In addition, many vehicles also contribute additional difficulties to daily use requirements.

In all cases the theory above may not be easy to achieve. If at any time you experience difficulty when following the above guidelines always seek professional assistance. It’s a service provider’s job to ensure that your day to day activities are as easy to perform as possible as in this realm, ease of use is safety.

www.acri.com.au

*Always refer to the manufacturers instructions