Products and activities common to this time of year can pose accident risks, particularly if you aren't vigilant or fail to identify safety hazards.
While it may be too late to get on Santa’s nice list, it’s never too late to check the products you buy and use are safe for your family. Make sure the gifts you’re giving haven’t been recalled or banned.
- Check www.productsafety.gov.au/recalls for the latest product recalls.
- If you're rushing with last minute Christmas shopping, take time to check that gifts for little ones are age appropriate and don’t pose choking hazards.
- Be sure to read any warning labels and follow all safety instructions.
Button batteries can cause serious injuries or death. If swallowed by a young child, the battery can become stuck and burn through soft tissue in just two hours. Symptoms can be difficult to diagnose.
You might be surprised how many products in your home use button batteries, but parents and carers can make safe choices to reduce the risks when buying electronic devices for the home.
- If friends or family with young children are visiting during the holidays, make sure TV remotes, keys with remote entry fobs, toys, Christmas decorations and novelties, or other items that use button batteries have secure battery compartments that can’t be opened by children.
- If you suspect a child has swallowed a button battery, immediately call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.
Ladder safety matters, regardless of the time of year. But as the weather warms up, you might want to clean out those gutters, do some pruning or start that DIY project, not to mention putting up the Christmas lights.
You should know that ladder related injuries are on the rise for older men in Australia. Risky shortcuts like not taking time to set up your ladder properly can cause you to fall and suffer serious injuries.
- Choose the right ladder for the job.
- Don't work in wet or windy conditions.
- Have another person hold the ladder.
Toppling furniture and televisions kill at least one child every year. An estimated 2600 Australians receive hospital treatment annually for injuries caused by toppling furniture and television. If you have small children in the home, or visiting during the holidays, check each room of your house and identify the risks.
- Secure televisions and furniture using anchoring devices.
- Do not put heavy items on top of shelves or bookcases.
- Use locking devices on drawers to stop children climbing them.
If you’re renting, talk to your landlord or agent about installing anchoring devices to walls. The ACCC has a list of agencies in each state or territory that can inform renters of their rights and responsibilities.
Blind and curtain cords pose a strangulation hazard for children, with at least one death each year. If children play near windows, or climb on furniture placed next to windows, loose cords from blinds or curtains can easily loop around a child’s neck.
- Never place cots, beds, highchairs or playpens near windows with blinds or curtains as infants and children can quickly become tangled if there are loose cords present.
- Buy tie-downs (cleats) or tension devices from hardware or window furnishing stores to properly secure looped cords.
- Whether at home or on holiday, check the windows in each room to make sure they are safe, and always supervise children in rooms with unsecured cords.
Inflatable and portable pools are dangerous to young children as they are not usually fenced and may not be emptied after use. Drowning or permanent brain injury can occur even in a small portable pool that contains very little water.
Fencing laws apply to pools, including portable pools, that are 300mm deep or more.
- Always empty smaller pools when not in use.
- Always store portable pools safely away from young children when not in use to prevent small amounts of water being collected in the pool due to rain or nearby sprinklers.
Decorative alcohol fuelled device are often used around the home. They can create a pleasant ambience when entertaining friends and family during the holidays, but you should know they can cause house fires and serious injuries.
Accidents can happen when refuelling as it’s easy to believe the flame is extinguished, when in fact it is still alight but hard to see.
- Always ensure flames are completely extinguished and the device is cool before refueling.
- Do not use table top burners. They are hazardous because they are less stable and can be knocked over.