It’s been a horrendous period for unintentional child injury in Victoria, with eight families losing their previously healthy child to preventable injuries – commonly known as ’accidents’ – since August 1st. Our thoughts are with the families and their loved ones in such a devastating time.
We are in awe of the bravery and selflessness shown by Hunter’s mum Ash and dad Matt, who tragically lost their beautiful boy in a dam on his grandparent’s property in August. They have shared their story in the most difficult time of their life, with one single aim – to stop anyone else living what is their new reality every day.
To make this their impact – and Hunter’s legacy – we’re urging all families to take 15 minutes out of their day to make sure your home is safe. Secure your curtain and blind cords, check the safety of your pool barrier, remove any button batteries, secure your furniture, and where possible, create a safe play area where kids can play and parents and carers can take a minute for themselves.
You can find our home safety checklist and other items of support below, as well as information about our recently launched Safe Barriers Save Lives campaign and Farm Safety Competition.
It takes a collective to keep our kids safe – thank you for playing your part in this.
Daylight saving begins this weekend which means summer is fast approaching and many of us will be eagerly anticipating a return to backyard pool parties, BBQ’s and gatherings with family and friends after recent restrictions. It also marks the start of our annual ‘Safe Barriers, Safe Lives’ backyard pool safety campaign where we encourage all pool and spa owners to check their barriers and set their home pool defence.
Sadly, drowning continues to be one of the leading causes of unintentional death for Australian children under 5 years of age. Figures from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia’s national drowning report show that in 2019/20, 12 Australian children aged 0-4 years of age drowned. Swimming pools were the most common location where these incidents occurred, accounting for 50% of all toddler drowning deaths (6).
There are many stories about children who drown in backyard pools or spas due to faulty or non compliant barriers – gates that were no longer self-closing or latching, chairs or other items that were left next to the barrier to climb on, gates that were propped open or gaps in a barrier that were just large enough for a tiny toddler to squeeze through.
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. That’s why it is important that barriers are regularly checked and maintained.
While pool and spa barriers help to reduce the risk of drowning, they should never be relied upon on their own to keep children safe. Active adult supervision of children in and around water, water awareness and first aid knowledge should also be included in your home pool defence, to help keep your family safe this season.
We would like to say a big thank you to our generous sponsors who helped make this campaign possible, including the Victorian Play it Safe by the Water committee, Safetech Hardware Australia, SPASA Victoria and Protector Aluminium.
For more information on Kidsafe’s ‘Safe Barriers, Save Lives’ campaign, including links to the Victorian Building Authority home pool safety self assessment checklists, please click here.
Olympic swimmer and Kidsafe ambassador Matt Welsh, shares the importance of setting your backyard pool defence in the lead up to the warm summer months.
Read more here as the busy father of 6 provides valuable advice to brush up on your pool safety knowledge and make sure we are all having fun and swimming safely at home.
Some may say 2020 has been a year to forget, however, if you are a Victorian pool or spa owner, don’t forget that you only have until the 1st November to register your pool or spa with your local council.
The registration requirement was introduced as part of new laws to improve swimming pool and spa safety in Victoria.
To register your pool or spa, please visit your local council website.
For more information on the regulations, please click here.
[Pictured: 2-year-old Hunter who tragically drowned in a dam on his Grandfather’s farm in Grahamvale]
The last few months have seen a tragic spike in child deaths. Sadly, 8 little Victorian lives have been lost to unintentional injuries, the kind often referred to as ‘accidents’. Our hearts go out to all of these families.
Ash Napolitano, mum of 2-year-old Hunter, is still coming to terms with the devastating grief of losing her son in a dam drowning last month.
“You can’t be complacent. Not for a second.
The way that this has impacted me, and my family is raw and painful.
We buried Hunter on the Tuesday and we saw on the Friday that another 2-year-old drowned 2 hours away from us.
It just broke my heart.”
The home is the most common location where child injuries occur. Many of you who have little ones under the age of five know just how inquisitive they are. They love to explore and get into everything, however they have little understanding of danger or hazards, which places them at greater risk of injury. That’s why it’s important to take steps to help ensure our homes are as safe as possible.
Our home safety checklist and Parent’s Guide to Kidsafe Homes resources are a great place to start – they provide a range of information and advice to help you identify and put strategies in place to help protect children against common home injury hazards.
To read more about this alarming report, please click here
For more information on how to keep your child safe, please visit our website
7 News – Alarming spike in children deaths
The Guardian – Victorian child deaths spike
Shepparton WIN News – Warning to supervise children as five toddlers drown in past two months
Geelong Advertiser – Water safety warning after tragic toddler deaths
This month we launched our ‘Farm Safety Creative Competition’, a new program designed to engage Victorian primary school aged students in learning about potential injury hazards that exist in farm environments, in a fun and interactive way.
This is a great opportunity for children to unleash their creative talents and design videos, illustrated stories, posters/infographics or radio ads on the theme ‘reducing harm on the farm’! Not only is it a fun activity for kids – it will also help them look out for hazards and facilitate important classroom and family discussions about farm safety.
There are some great prizes on offer for students, families and schools.
We are looking forward to seeing all the different ideas and the challenge of trying to select the winners!
For more information on farm safety and Kidsafe Victoria’s Farm Safety Creative Competition, please click here
Fitting Furniture – Various Bunk Beds
The plastic brackets that hold the bunk beds together may crack or break, which may cause the bunk bed to collapse. This can result in a fall or serious injury.
For more information please click here
Aldi – Jack ‘N’ Jill Wooden Block Sets
These products do not comply with mandatory safety standards.
Small magnets may detach from the blocks and pose a risk of choking or suffocation in young children.
For more information please click here
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.