News

Homelessness Week - Monday 2nd- Sunday 8th of August 2021

Homelessness Week raises awareness of people experiencing homelessness, the issues they face and the action needed to achieve enduring solutions. Children who suffer homelessness are also at greater risk of unintentional injury. Homelessness Week is a national event, with events held across Australia during the first full week in August.

Click here for full details of Homelessness Week - from the Shelter Tasmania website - including a whole range of events through the week.

National Farm Safety Week 2021 - high rates of unintentional injury and death in children on farms

The theme of this year's Farm Safety Week is week is ‘Farm Safety Through The Ages – From 2-92’.

Here is a link to an article by ABC News Vic Country Hour journalist Jane McNaughton, that really highlights the safety issues for children on farms. Click here to see the article.

Some key points of concern:

  • Approximately 15 children are killed on Australian farms each year
  • Almost one in six farm fatalities are kids.
  • 15 per cent of farm deaths are children under 14 years old, according to an AgHealth Australia study
  • Children have higher rates of unintentional injury and death than children in metropolitan areas.
  • Dams and large bodies of water pose a drowning hazard for children.
  • Quad bikes are really dangerous - many Australian children have die in quad bike accidents in recent years
  • Also motorbikes and farm vehicles, such as tractors, as well as farm animals

All of these risks can me minimised or eliminated by proper supervision and farming practices that take into account childrens' presence on the farm. More detail of strategies such as safe play areas, are shown below. Click here for a datasheet on farm safety.

Click here for some detailed information on keeping your children safe on the farm.

Learning About Burning video

As the finale to Burns Awareness Month, Hobart-based children’s entertainers The Scallywags have performed in a video called Learning About Burning using information provided by the Burn Unit focusing on safety in the home, wood heater burns prevention and Burns First Aid.

The key messages are to always use a fixed fire screen around heaters and fires and keep two meters from the heater. Ensure working smoke alarms are installed and if you do sustain a burn, remember to cool the burn under running water for 20 minutes, no ice or ointments, cover the burn and seek medical attention.

Click here to watch the video.

Button Battery Safety – Supplier guide and fact sheet for mandatory standards

In December 2020 the Australian Government made mandatory safety and information standards for button batteries and consumer goods containing them.

The ACCC has developed A Guide for Business on the Application of Mandatory Standards (click here). The purpose of this guide is to assist suppliers in understanding the requirements for secure battery compartments, child resistant packaging, and warnings and information.

The ACCC has also developed a Fact Sheet (click here) which summarises the requirements of the new standards for the benefit of suppliers.

Both documents are available on the Product Safety Australia website by clicking on the above links.

 

When should my child's car seat face forward?
Experts concerned too many mistakes are being made

Click here for an ABC interview exposing the misuse rate of car seats

 

Safety of Children in Motor Vehicles
- National Best Practice Guidelines launch 30 March 2021

Click here to read media release.

The aim of these guidelines is to provide parents, carers, and road safety practitioners with clear advice on optimal use of child restraints and seat belts by children aged 0-16 years when travelling in motor vehicles, to minimise their risk of injury in the event of a crash.

These guidelines were developed through a partnership between Kidsafe Australia and Neuroscience Research Australia, supported by a panel of child road safety experts. They were approved by the National Health and Medical Council of Australia in November 2020. Click here to download the guidelines.

For full details and resources available on the safety of children in motor vehicles - on the Kidsafe Australia website, click on this link.

The laws in all Australian states and territories outline the minimum child car restraint requirements for all children up to the age of 16 years. The available evidence shows that there is more that can be done above and beyond these minimum requirements, to minimise injury to child passengers, by encouraging best practice child restraint use.

To see the Top Ten Steps for Safer Travel identified in these guidelines, click on this link.

The new recommendations outlined in the Guidelines include:

  • Children should use their child restraint or booster seat when travelling in rideshares (e.g.Uber) and rental cars, as well as taxis.
  • Strengthened advice to use the ‘5 Step Test’ to decide when to transition from a booster seat to adult seat belt.
  • Children should be encouraged to sit in an upright seating posture so their restraint can work optimally.
  • Children aged 4-8 years should use an add-on booster seat in preference to an integrated booster, but children 9 years and older can safely use an integrated booster seat if their car has a side curtain airbag where they are sitting.
  • Parents of low birthweight babies should use an infant car restraint designed for low birthweight babies until they can get good harness fit in a ‘standard’ child car restraint.

 

The New Water Safety Strategy by the Australian Water Safety Council

The New Water Safety Strategy by the Australian Water Safety Council has been launched and seeks to significantly cut the drowning rate in Australia.

Downloads

Click here to download the Strategy

Click here to download media release

Each year more than 280 people die due to drowning, with many more admitted to hospital following a non-fatal drowning incident. 41% of drowning occurs in coastal environments (beaches, ocean and rocks), 36% in rivers and lakes, and 61% outside of major cities. Males drown at a rate four times that of females and one-year-old toddlers record the highest drowning rate of any age.

The Australian Water Safety Strategy (AWSS) plays an essential role in National, State and Territory, and community approaches to preventing drowning and promoting safe use of the nation’s waterways and swimming pools. It outlines priority areas where Australia’s peak water safety bodies Royal Life Saving and Surf Life Saving, and AWSC Members can work together to prevent drowning on beaches, at rivers and lakes, and in swimming pools across Australia.

This new Australian Water Safety Strategy seeks to raise awareness about non-fatal drowning incidents, encourage communities to create local water safety plans and promote access to swimming and water safety skills for all Australians, including refugees, migrants and those living in regional areas.

In addition to skills, the Australian Water Safety Strategy promotes the importance of frontline water safety services, including volunteer surf lifesavers, lifeguards, and swimming instructors. The Strategy encourages extension of services, as well as innovative approaches such as the use of drones and emergency stations in remote locations.

Key findings – Australian Water Safety Strategy 2030

  • For every fatal drowning, there are three non-fatal drowning incidents

  • Males drown at a rate 4 times that of females

  • One-year-old toddlers record the highest drowning rate of any age

  • Rivers and lakes account for 36% of drowning deaths

  • Coastal environments (beaches, ocean and rock) account for 41% of drowning deaths

  • 23% of drowning deaths occur while swimming and recreating

  • 61% of drowning deaths occur outside of major cities

  • Fatal drowning rate has reduced by 26% over the last ten years

  • Child (0-4 years) fatal drowning rate has reduced by 50% over the last ten years

To stay safe around water, the Australian Water Safety Council urge all Australians to:

  • Supervise children at all times in, on and around water
  • Learn swimming, water safety and lifesaving skills
  • Wear a lifejacket when boating, rock fishing or paddling
  • Swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs around water


 

Button Batteries new mandatory standard announced

PRODUCT SAFETY AUSTRALIA (ACCC) welcomes safety and information standards for button batteries

The ACCC has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to improve the safety of button batteries by introducing new safety regulations.

Click here for the full announcement by the ACCC

Under the new mandatory safety and information standards manufacturers must:

Manufacture their products with secure battery compartments to prevent children from gaining access to the batteries.

  • Undertake compliance testing to demonstrate batteries are secure
  • Supply higher risk batteries in child-resistant packaging
  • Place additional warnings and emergency advice on packaging and instructions.

Button batteries can be incredibly dangerous to young children, especially for children five years of age and under. If swallowed, a button battery can get stuck in a child’s throat and cause a chemical reaction that burns through tissue, causing death or serious injury. Insertion of a button battery into body orifices such as ears and noses can also lead to significant injuries.

 From the time a child swallows a button battery they are ‘walking dead’

Following the death of a 3rd child in Australia due to an ingested button battery, Kidsafe are issuing an urgent reminder to everyone to be Button Battery Aware.

As the number of babies, toddlers and older children hospitalised after swallowing button batteries continues to rise, Kidsafe has issued a fresh warning that button batteries can inflict catastrophic injury and kill.

  • In Australia, more than one child a month sustains a time critical or severe injury related to swallowing or inserting (into nose or ears) a button battery, with children under five years of age proving to be at greatest risk.
  • These little batteries present a serious danger to children and can kill if not found in time. If swallowed, a fully charged large (3V) button battery can erode through the oesophagus in as little as two hours. Even when the battery has been removed, the chemical burn can continue to erode through tissue.
  • Most severe injuries and deaths are associated with ‘occult ingestions’ where a child swallows a button battery but fails to report this to parents/carers. Though this is more common with preverbal and non-verbal children, it also occurs in older children who fear there may be repercussions or may not think to mention it.
  • Dr Ruth Barker Emergency Paediatrician and Kidsafe Qld President says “These children are ‘walking dead’ from the moment they swallow the battery, because they do not look unwell. Although the parents notice something is not quite right, no-one can put their finger on it. When the diagnosis is revealed, it can be too late. The aftermath of realizing what everyone had been missing is devastating.”
  • Importantly, even a battery that no longer has enough charge to power your product, may still have the capacity to kill. A large 3V lithium battery has a shelf life of 10 years. 
  • For 40 years companies have been deploying these ‘landmines’ into our homes with no warnings, unsecured battery compartments and no information on what to do if a child swallows or inserts one. 
  • Whilst the mainstream toy industry has been diligent about this issue; making battery compartments child resistant and their products durable and impact resistant; families are increasingly exposed to a deluge of cheap, low quality products across a staggering range of suppliers. The onus is on industry to come up with better and safer solutions to this worldwide killer.

In Australia, Kidsafe is looking forward to world-first legislation, with the ACCC looking at a mandatory safety standard for all products containing button batteries.

 

Reduce the number of products in your environment that are powered by button batteries. Although injury can still occur with cylindrical batteries this is much less common. Can you source products with enclosed batteries (USB rechargeable) or powered by alternative batteries or power sources?

Secure button batteries and the products they power. Only purchase button batteries in child resistant packaging. Products need to be durable and the battery compartments child resistant. If dropped or the compartment prised open will the battery be released?

Know which products in your home have button batteries. Regularly check that the battery is still secured in the child-resistant compartment. Where you can, keep them out of reach of small children (though beware climbers!)

Dispose of spent and unused batteries immediately and safely – ‘flat’ batteries are still dangerous. Tape them both sides with sticky tape as they come out of the product. This reduces fire risk if you are storing them for recycling and makes them a tricky mouthful to swallow. Kids can be like vultures waiting to pounce!

Recognise the signs and symptoms of occult ingestion; gagging, drooling, unable to eat properly, noisy breathing, chest pain (grunting) vomiting or passing black or red blood.

Respond immediately if you suspect someone has swallowed or inserted a button battery. Not every health facility has the capacity to assess or manage a button battery injury, so call the Poisons Information Centre first on 13 11 26 (24/7) for fast expert advice. 

Warn others about the dangers of button batteries.

This video describes the risks and type of injury. Click here or on the image below to watch the video.

 


The Dangers of Battery Buttons

Coming up to Christmas one of our biggest fears is button batteries found in so many things we purchase today. Flashing Christmas cards, children’s toys even dog toys can contain these little batteries that can cause major harm to children including death.

  • Making sure parents and carers are vigilant and are aware of the dangers of button batteries is a Kidsafe challenge at this time of year.
  • Know the big danger this little battery poses so you can take steps to keep your family safe.
  • Learn how to protect your family.
  • Button batteries live in homes all over Australia.
  • In Australia, one child a month is seriously injured after swallowing or inserting a button battery.
  • Button batteries are lurking everywhere in your home.
  • If swallowed, button batteries can cause damage in under two hours.
  • Protect your family and keep button batteries out of reach of children.
  • Dispose of button batteries properly.
  • If swallowed or inserted, call the 24/7 Australian Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for fast, expert advice.

Click here for more detailed information

Child Restraint training with St Giles, by Kidsafe QLD expert Susan Teerds

Kidsafe Tasmania was excited to be working with Kidsafe QLD expert Susan Teerds talking to St Giles Occupational Therapist in Launceston and Hobart about child restraint use with children.  It was fantastic to explore options to help support children with complex needs and provide an ongoing relationship to support staff and families.

The upcoming fire season - keeping kids safe and feeling secure:

Familiarise yourself with the Tasmanian Fire Service information on fire safety in an about the home (see links below) and ensure your child knows how to evacuate your house and where there is a safe meeting place.

In case of a fire emergency and you must leave you house quickly, pack a bag for your child that contains,

  • Medication they require, such as asthma treatment and prescribed medication. Some children’s pain killer such as Panadol/ Nurofen - age appropriate.
  • A favourite toy, book, or something to comfort them that they are familiar with.
  • If they have a dummy, have a spare on hand.
  • A change of underwear. 
  • And a tag you can pin on them with their name and some contact details.

Re-pack this bag at the beginning of every fire season and have in a place you can easily grab in an emergency.

Useful links:

Tasmanian Fire Service

School Fire Education (Tasmanian Fire Service)

 

Safe Transportation of Children (Education & Care Services)

The Education Council has agreed to new requirements under the Education and Care Services National Regulations (National Regulations) for providers of education and care services that offer, or arrange, transportation of children as part of the education and care service.

The new requirements will commence on 1 October 2020 in all states and territories.

Click here for an information sheet explains the new requirements for providers and their services.

 

Free Information Sessions for Child and Family Centres

  • Child Restraint Fitting & Education
  • Prevention of unintentional Injury in Young People
  • Home Safety Checklists

Kidsafe Tasmania is offering free sessions to Child & Family Centers around Tasmania. We would love to organize a time to come and visit you this term. We can customise a session to suit your needs, including a child restraint check for parents & carers, a talk on unintentional injury prevention in young people and how has COVID change the way we do things.

With a report from the RHH Burns Unit that admission of young children has doubled during COVID with burns and other injuries such as increases in road traffic incidents, we are keen to help with information that may prevent these statistics from getting bigger.

Please contact to arrange a visit to you soon!

 

 Watch Out for Snakes - they're about


The weather’s warming up and snakes are being seen around the home more often. Tasmania’s snakes are particularly venomous and kids need to understand the threat of snake bites. Some things you can do:

  • Teach your kids to respects snakes and stay away from them.
  • If you see a snake, pass by at a safe distance. Never approach snakes, even if they appear to be dead.
  • In the bush, your kids should wear shoes or boots, take care where they walk and sit down - snakes are good at concealing themselves.
  • If your child is bitten by a snake, seek immediate medical attention.

Please note that Tasmanian snakes are important native mammals - and are protected by law. It is illegal to kill or harm them in any way.

 

Backyard Fire Safety

Backyard Fire Safety - click here or on picture

Kidsafe Queensland have released a new Kidsafe Ninja Youtube clip on backyard fire safety

 

 

 

 

 

Online survey - to explore parents' willingness to use

rideshare vehicles to transport your children

 

Monash University Accident Research Centre are interested in whether parents use their own CRS or booster seats when travelling in these vehicles.

You are eligible if you: are aged 18 years or older; have a valid driver's licence, are an active driver (i.e., at least once per week); have at least one child (aged 17 years or younger) who regularly travels in a motor vehicle with you, and are currently living in Australia.  

The online survey will take about 25 minutes to complete.

Participants who complete the online survey can enter a draw to win one of five $100 gift vouchers

The survey is located at: https://monash.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bK4n9DS0Pa4VvH7

 

'SAFE BARRIERS SAVE LIVES’ BACKYARD POOL SAFETY CAMPAIGN

When it comes to backyard pool safety, the best offence is a good defence.

Despite significant reductions in toddler drowning deaths over time, drowning continues to be one of the leading causes of accidental 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 2018/19, 19 Australian children aged 0-4 years drowned. The majority of these drowning incidents (63%) occurred in swimming pools.

While pool and spa barriers can be effective in reducing the risk of drowning incidents, evidence suggests that a large number of drowning deaths are the result of barriers that are faulty, or non-compliant with Australian standards.

Kidsafe’s ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign urges all pool and spa owners to check their barriers and set their backyard pool defence to assist in keeping children safe in and around water. The campaign features a series of humorous skits with parents employing an over the top defence and celebrations while playing backyard sporting games with their children, to remind families that when it comes to backyard pool safety, ‘the best offence is a good defence’.

‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ Campaign DL Flyer

‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ Campaign A3 Poster

Royal Life Saving Society Australia Home Safety Pool Safety Checklist

Embed video: https://youtu.be/UtRNgod-Jkw

 

 

 

The ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign is proudly supported by

Safetech Hardware Australia.

 

Weighted Blankets – are they safe?

Weighted blankets are becoming popular and readily available on the market.

Sometimes called calming, sensory or anxiety blankets, weighted blankets are essentially quilts with pockets of beads, sand, barley or other small rounds objects.

There is very little research on safety aspects of the blankets, Kidsafe make the following observations based on expert advice:

  • Pediatricians and sleep experts do not recommend weighted blankets for infants.  Sadly, we now know that sleep positioners can be associated with infant suffocation.
  • Most blankets come with an age range of 4 years and up, but we would not recommend that any kids use them while sleeping, as they can be too heavy for a child to move.
  • Only parents, with advice from a trained occupational therapist or paediatrician, should consider using weighted blankets for their child.
  • Other people caring for a child should not use them without the parents’ consent.
  • We believe the risk of SIDS may be relevant to the issue of using these blankets.
  • We would be cautious if the blanket came undone and the content came out - it could be a choking hazard or something that could be inhaled up the nose of a child.
  • Blankets should be bought only from a reputable distributor, come with a list of precautions, and have higher safety standards than other blankets on the market.

There is much information available on safe-sleeping practices for parents, including:

Raising Children website offers good information on kids sleep across age groups: Click here

Article by pediatrician Kathryn Bucklen, M.D. Click here

 

Carbon Monoxide Safety

"Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer,” warned CEO of Kidsafe Tasmania, Jenny Branch-Allen in an article in the Tasmanian Times. Click on this link to read the full story. “Children can and do die of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas: you can’t see it, you can’t smell it and you can’t taste it.”

The overnight charcoal grill incident highlighted the potential dangers of using appliances such as those that burn or use gas, petrol, oil, kerosene or wood, due to possible production of carbon monoxide.

It is often called the ‘silent killer’ as its effects can be deadly, and people can die from breathing it before they know it is there. Everyone, including animals, can die from CO poisoning. There is an even greater risk for pregnant women, unborn babies, children, the elderly as well as people with chronic heart disease, anaemia, or respiratory problems.

 

Kidsafe Family Day Care Safety Guidelines

New Family Day Care Safety Guidelines have been developed by Kidsafe and can be downloaded by clicking here.