Summer, school holidays and Christmas should be times of fun and relaxation and Consumer Protection wants to make sure that they are also safe times for everyone.
In the 12 months from July 2018 to June 2019, there were 276 drowning deaths in Australia with 31 of them occurring in swimming pools*.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard is concerned that these figures are higher than the previous year and says particular awareness of the dangers is required by consumers, particularly over the warmer months.
“Constant supervision is the key to keeping kids safe around water, so don’t get distracted by a visitor to the home or by the phone if you are caring for children,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Children can drown in a small amount of water in portable pools which, even if thought to be empty, can fill up with water while left out in the rain or near the garden sprinkler. Store the portable pool after use and don’t risk it filling up with water in your absence.
“In most states, if any pool has more than 30cms of water in it, it will need to be fenced. The fence must comply with set standards so check with your local council or government agency for safety barrier rules. Check the locking devices on pool gates as they can be defective or wear out over time and never prop open the gate.
“Remember that aquatic and flotation toys are not safety devices so don’t assume that a child is safe in the water just because they are wearing or using them. Mermaid tails or fins have become popular items but users need to be strong swimmers and should be supervised at all times. They are not recommended for children under the age of seven.”
Consumer Protection advises Christmas shoppers to choose their gifts wisely.
“Have safety in mind when buying Christmas gifts for family and friends by making sure that they are appropriate for their age and, if young children are involved, look out for choking hazards and button batteries may be dangerous if swallowed. Button battery compartments must be secured so that they can’t be opened by children or come loose when the item is dropped,” the Commissioner said.
“Searching the product safety website will let you know if the gift has been recalled or banned and always take note of warning labels and following safety instructions.”
Other issues to keep in mind to ensure a safe summer:
· TVs and furniture can be dangerous to young children if they fall over while the child is trying to climb on top of them. Make sure furniture and TVs are secured to the wall;
· Trampolines are a popular Christmas gift but they can also be dangerous with hundreds of children hospitalised each year after having accidents. Supervise their use, only allow one child to use it at a time, put padding on the frame and remove any hazards nearby.
· Quad bike deaths are most common during the holiday periods so take extra care and make sure riders are trained and experienced in their use and always wear protective gear. In our view children should not use quad bikes.