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Kidsafe Victoria Commends the Victorian Government on Passing the Bill Containing Proposed Changes to Pool and Spa Barrier Laws

Safe Barriers Save Lives

Kidsafe Victoria has commended the Victorian Government on passing the bill with the proposed changes to the State’s pool and spa barrier laws.

As part of the proposed regulatory changes, a mandatory pool register will be established which lists all household pools and spas across the state and a mandatory inspection regime will be implemented, with all pools and spas inspected as frequently as once every three years.

Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria, said that Kidsafe Victoria supported the introduction of the proposed regulatory changes.

“Kidsafe Victoria, together with other industry stakeholders, have been campaigning over a number of years for the introduction of measures including a mandatory pool and spa register and mandatory pool and spa barrier inspection system”, said Mr Chambers.

“The introduction of measures such as these, in combination with ongoing education campaigns, are vital to effectively reduce the rate of childhood drowning in home pools and spas in Victoria.”

The proposed changes are expected to be introduced for the 2019/2020 summer season.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for Australian children under 5 years of age. Statistics 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 drowning incidents (67%) occurred in swimming pools.

While pool and spa barriers play an important role in reducing the risk of childhood drowning, Kidsafe Victoria is reminding the public that nothing can replace active adult supervision of children in and around water.

“Children drown quickly and silently. Together with a compliant pool barrier, it is important that children are always actively supervised by an adult when in and around water to help keep them safe. For toddlers, this means an adult being within arm’s reach at all times”, said Mr Chambers.

‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ Campaign

Kidsafe’s ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign encourages all pool and spa owners to check the safety of their barriers in the lead up to the warmer months.

The campaign reminds pool and spa owners that as well as a pool barrier that is regularly checked and in proper working order, a home pool defence should include active adult supervision, water awareness and first aid knowledge to keep children safe in and around water.

More information about the campaign, including a pool and spa safety checklist, can be accessed via https://www.kidsafevic.com.au/water-safety/pool-fence-safety.


Small Magnets Pose Big Danger for Children

Kidsafe Victoria has issued a warning to parents and carers about the dangers of children choking or suffering serious internal injuries if they ingest magnets.

The warning comes as statistics from the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit show that an average of 38 Victorian children present to hospital emergency departments every year with a magnet related injury.

Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria, said that young children were at particular risk of injuries involving magnets due to their natural curiosity and lack of awareness of the dangers.

“Children often explore their environments by placing things in their mouths. Small magnets can be accessed from a range of common household items including children’s toys, fridge magnets, jewellery and objects like keyrings.”

Dr Maurizio Pacilli, consultant paediatric surgeon at Monash Children’s Hospital, said that common injuries from the ingestion of magnets included choking, perforation of the bowel, infection and even death.

“If a child swallows two or more magnets they will be drawn towards each other and can lock together inside the body, which can result in perforation of the bowel, blockages and infection. In these cases, urgent surgery is required to remove the magnets and avoid serious medical complications or death”, said Dr Pacilli.

Toys containing magnets are required to meet a mandatory Australian standard which outlines labelling and testing requirements.

Kidsafe Victoria is encouraging all parents and carers to check their homes for items that contain magnets and take action to help keep children safe.

Magnet Safety Tips

Buying objects with magnets

  • Look for fridge magnets that are too big to fit in a young child's mouth
  • Check that magnets are securely attached to/in the toy, and can’t come off easily
  • Check the size of magnets in/on toys to make sure that if they come loose, they wouldn’t fit in a child’s mouth

Using products with magnets

  • Keep toys with strong magnets, or magnetic parts that are small enough to be swallowed, away from young children
  • If children are playing with toys containing magnets, supervise them closely to ensure none go in their mouth
  • Dispose of toys immediately if their magnets come loose
  • Avoid the use of magnetic jewellery as fake body piercings


If you suspect a child has swallowed a magnet, seek urgent medical assistance.



Fifty Australians a Week Injured by Toppling Furniture and Televisions

An estimated 2,600 Australians receive hospital treatment for injuries caused by toppling furniture and televisions each year, equating to approximately 50 people per week.

Since 2001 at least 22 children under the age of 9 have died in Australia from toppling furniture or televisions, with children under 3 years of age at greatest risk. 

The ACCC, in partnership with Kidsafe, has launched a national awareness campaign urging parents to check their homes for dangerous and potentially deadly situations caused by unstable furniture including bookcases, drawers, wardrobes, sideboards and TVs.

Melanie Courtney, CEO of Kidsafe Victoria, said thatchildren's curiosity and lack of awareness of danger placed them at increased risk of injury from TV and furniture tip overs.

"Children are naturally inquisitive and common household furniture can look very different and interesting from a toddler's perspective - for example, they may see items of furniture like bookcases and shelves as a ladder to gain access to reach an item that is stored up high."

"This is why it's important that anyone who has young children in their home - either living there or visiting - is aware of the dangers", said Ms Courtney.

ACCC Acting Chair, Delia Rickard, said tip-over accidents happen quickly and reinforced the importance of parents and carers securing furniture to make their homes safer for children.


For safety secure televisions to the wall

"We strongly encourage parents and carers to check every room in their home for toppling hazards and anchor any tall or unstable furniture or large TVs."

"If you don't have anchor kits, you can buy them cheaply at hardware stores or furniture retail outlets", said Ms Rickard.

Warwick Teague, Director of the Trauma Service at the Royal Children's Hospital, said that falling furniture can not only strike a child, but can trap and crush them underneath and cause life threatening injuries or death

"Common injuries from TV and furniture tip over incidents result from significant blunt force trauma and include broken bones, brain injuries, crushed chest cavities and even death by asphyxiation", said Dr Teague.

The new awareness campaign features the story of a toddler, Blake, who was killed when a freestanding bookcase fell on him as he sat playing on the floor. Blake's death provides a tragic reminder to all parents and careers to anchor unstable furniture and large TVs.

Ms Rickard said that the ACCC will continue to work with retailers to increase awareness about the dangers posed by unstable furniture. This includes ensuring retailers supply appropriate anchoring devices to consumers, better in-store signage is displayed, and warning labels are affixed to products.

Furniture safety tips

Buy Safe

  • Purchase low-set furniture or furniture with sturdy, stable and broad bases.
  • Look for furniture that comes with safety information or equipment for anchoring it to the walls.
  • Test the furniture in the shop - make sure it is stable. For example, pull out top drawers of a chest of drawers and apply a little pressure to see how stable it is. Make sure the drawers do not fall out easily.

Use Safe

  • Attach, mount, bolt or otherwise secure furniture to walls and floors.
  • Do not put heavy items on top shelves of bookcases.
  • Secure televisions to the wall.
  • Discourage small children from climbing on furniture.
  • Do not put tempting items such as favorite toys on top of furniture that encourage children to climb up and reach.
  • Do not place unstable furniture near where children play.
  • Put locking devices on all drawers to prevent children opening them and using them as steps.

ACCC Research Report - Consumer awareness of furniture stability risks and prevention

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Media Communications, Kidsafe Victoria - Mobile: 0417 329 201



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