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Kidsafe Victoria and Neighbourhood Houses Victoria to provide FREE Car Restraint Checks

Free Checking Program Annoucement Media Release

Kidsafe Victoria and Neighbourhood Houses Victoria have welcomed the announcement from The Hon Jenny Mikakos that they have been awardedthe tender to deliver The State Government of Victoria’s free childrestraint checking program.

This potentially life-saving initiative will be officially launched in December and then continue to berolled out from January. Events will be held at designated Neighbourhood Houses across the State.

Melanie Courtney, CEO of Kidsafe Victoria said that , “It is estimated that over 70% of car restraintsare incorrectly installed or used . We are looking forward to working with fitters and families acrossthe state over the next 4 years to increase the number of correctly restrained children travelling invehicles.”

CEO of Neighbourhood Houses, Nicole Battle said that, “With over 400 Neighbourhood Houses acrossVictoria, we are very excited to be a part of this incredibly important initiative.

As organisations that work closely with families, many of which cannot afford to have their childrestraints professionally fitted, it is fantastic that Neighbourhood Houses are going to be workingwith Kidsafe to make this vital service freely available within local communities.”

Incorrect use of restraints triples the risk of injury in a crash. It is essential that car restraints arethe right size for the child, properly adjusted and fastened, and correctly installed in the vehicle toprotect the child from serious injury and death in the event of a crash.

Families who are interested in attending a checking day near them can register their interest.

Button Batteries Pose a Deadly Hazard for Children - a Clear and Present Danger in all Homes

An estimated 20 Australian children present to an emergency department every week with a button battery related injury

Kidsafe Victoria supports calls for tougher safety regulations and a mandatory safety standard for products containing button batteries, in a bid to reduce the rates of serious childhood injury and death.

The call comes ahead of the release of the coronial inquest findings into the death of one-year-old Isabella ‘Bella’ Rees, who passed away in February 2015 after a button battery became lodged her oesophagus. The findings are due to be issued by the Coroner at 10am Thursday April 4th.

In Australia, button battery safety is only mandated for toys designed for children under the age of 3 years. These are legally required to have secured battery compartments. Other products are self-regulated by a voluntary industry code which calls for button battery compartments to be safely secured and for products with button batteries to have warning labels. However, recent investigations conducted by CHOICE showed that 10 out of the 17 products tested failed to meet the voluntary code, with the button batteries in the products being easily accessible.

Kidsafe Victoria supports:

  • A mandatory industry standard for button batteries
  • The introduction of a General Safety Provision
  • Proposed packaging amendments including mandatory child resistant packaging and single use packaging of retail batteries
  • An investment into the education regarding button batteries to new parents; every year in Victoria there are over 80,000 babies born, with 35,000 of these to new families. Parents, grandparents and other carers need to receive information about how to keep their babies safe

Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria, said, “Children under five years of age are at greatest risk and with so many common products using button batteries, one of the major dangers is that a small child can swallow a battery without anyone hearing, seeing or knowing.”

“If ingested, a button battery can become stuck in a child’s throat where saliva immediately triggers an electrical current which causes a chemical reaction that can burn the oesophagus in as little as two hours, causing severe life-threatening injuries and in some cases death.”

“These batteries are found in many common household items such as remote controls, calculators, bathroom scales, car keys, toys, watches, talking books/cards, hearing aids and flameless candles.”

Together with calls for tougher safety standards, Kidsafe Victoria is urging all parents, carers and family members to conduct regular button battery audits of areas in and around their homes and put in place measures to reduce the risk of children accessing and ingesting these batteries.

“Many products come with button batteries already installed. People may be surprised at just how many items in and around their homes contain them and could be posing a hazard to their children or children who visit their homes”, said Mr Chambers.

Button Battery Continuous Home Audit

  • Identify items with button batteries
  • Examine all devices and make sure the battery compartment is secure
  • Keep loose batteries and items with unsecured battery compartments locked away out of the sight and reach of children
  • Dispose of old button batteries immediately and safely – a flat button battery can still cause serious and life-threatening injuries if ingested
  • If you suspect a child may have swallowed a button battery, don’t wait for them to show symptoms, call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 (24 hours, 7 days a week) immediately for expert advice
  • Tell others about this threat and share these steps.

The symptoms caused by swallowing a button battery can look like other childhood illnesses and may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing, or
  • Fever

Kidsafe Victoria’s ‘Button Battery Safety’ campaign provides a range of information, advice and resources for parents, carers, GP’s and hospital clinicians on the dangers posed by button batteries. More information can be accessed via https://www.kidsafevic.com.au/home-safety/button-batteries.



Australia Day Party Toddler Drowning Alert Parents Urged to Check Pool Barriers and Gates

67% of toddler drowning incidents in 2017/2018 occurred in swimming pools

Kidsafe Victoria today said with thousands of traditional BBQ's and pool parties held across the Australia Day long weekend it is vital all pool owners check their Pool Barriers and Gates are in good working condition and ensure the pool or spa is supervised by an adult when in use.  

Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria said, "Research has shown that adult supervision is the first line of defence in reducing toddler drowning incidents, with pool and spa barriers and gates providing crucial support."

"Children drown quickly and silently, which is why it's important that they are actively supervised in and around water - for toddlers, this means having an adult within arm's reach at all times.”

"When there are lots of adults around at a backyard BBQ or pool party, it can often seem like there is extra supervision for children. However, quite often in these situations everyone assumes that someone else is actively supervising the kids when in fact, nobody is," Mr Chambers said.


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The warning comes as recent figures from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia's National Drowning Report show that in 2017/18, 18 Australian children aged 0-4 years drowned. The majority of these incidents (67%) occurred in swimming pools.

CEO of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Victoria, Chris Samartzis, highlighted the importance of pool and spa owners conducting regular checks of their barriers, saying "Pool and spa barriers are exposed to the extremes of weather all year round which can lead to rust, loose or missing bolts or screws and wear and tear over time. It's critical that pool and spa owners regularly check and maintain their barriers to ensure they are safe and fully compliant."

Kidsafe Victoria’s ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign is proudly supported by SPASA Victoria, Safetech Hardware Australia, Protector Aluminium and the Victorian Pool Check Compliance Agency. For further information on the campaign and to access resources including the Victorian Building Authority's pool barrier checklists, please visit  www.kidsafevic.com.au 

Kidsafe Victoria's summer pool safety tips: 

  • Children need to be actively supervised by an adult in and around water at all times. For toddlers, this means having an adult within arms' reach.
  • Appoint designated supervisors at BBQ's and pool parties whose role it is to supervise the kids in and around the pool. This role can be shared throughout the day so that everyone gets a chance to enjoy the festivities.
  • Ensure that your pool barrier is secure and in proper working order.
  • Never prop the pool gate open, this allows children easy and often unsupervised access to the pool area.
  • Learn CPR and update your skills regularly. Resuscitation signs are a good reminder to be kept near pools.
  • Toddlers can drown in as little as a few centimetres of water, so be mindful of other potential outdoor water hazards including eskys with melted ice, wading/inflatable pools and ponds.

Common non-compliance issues with pool barriers:

  • Gates and doors that don't self-latch or self-close
  • Climbable objects near the barrier e.g. pot plants, chairs, pool pumps near the pool barrier which could allow a child to climb over the fence
  • Excess space under the barrier, and;
  • Misuse (e.g. propping the pool gate open)

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