We want you to have a safe, happy and healthy summer. Many summer products can be unsafe if they are left unattended or aren’t used properly. Follow our tips to have a safe summer.
Christmas gifts and toys
In the lead up to Christmas, it’s a good idea to check that the gifts you’re giving haven’t been recalled or are banned.
- Faulty products continue to cause serious injury and harm to thousands of Australians every year.
- More than 4.5 million items were recalled by suppliers in the 2017–18 financial year.
- The holidays are a great opportunity to check if any of the products in your house or the houses of your loved ones have been recalled. Check 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 are found in many common household items, such as toys, novelty items, car keys, remote controls, torches, calculators, kitchen and bathroom scales, and greeting cards. Button batteries can cause serious injuries or death if swallowed by a young child, as the battery can become stuck and burn through soft tissue in just two hours.
- check all products in the home to see if they come with button batteries
- ensure they are screwed in and not easily accessible
- if you suspect a child has swallowed a button battery, immediately call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.
Toppling furniture and televisions kill at least one child every year. An estimated 2,600 Australians receive hospital treatment annually for injuries caused by toppling furniture and televisions. If you have small children in the home, or likely to visit 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, first talk to your landlord or agent about installing anchoring devices to walls
Young children are at risk of drowning when portable pools aren't emptied between use or aren’t appropriately fenced. Fatal drowning or permanent brain injury can occur even in a small portable pool containing very little water, so watching children is imperative. Don’t duck out from your responsibilities, make it SAFE:
- Supervise. Once the pool has water in, you’ll need to actively watch any child, within arm’s reach at all times, so you can prevent anything from going wrong. It’s too much responsibility to leave older children in charge of younger kids and they may not recognise the signs of a drowning.
- Act. Learn what to do in the event of a child drowning incident. You’ll need to know how to carry out CPR and it’s important to start compressions and breaths right away when a child is pulled from the water, and to call Triple Zero (000) so help is on the way. If possible shout for someone to call Triple Zero (000) while you continue CPR.
- Fence. In most parts of Australia, if a pool has more than 30cm of water in it, there’s a legal requirement for it to be fenced. You need to check with your local council or government agency for safety barrier rules.
- Empty and store away portable pools. Pour out the water, deflate the portable pool and keep it safely out of reach of children when not in use. Never leave an empty pool in a place where it can refill with rain or sprinkler water.
Is your trampoline safe? It’s flippin’ important. Hundreds of Australian children are taken to hospital every year for trampoline-related injuries such as cuts, sprains and fractures. Don’t let your trampoline spring a nasty surprise. Follow the five-step safety checklist to keep kids safe on trampolines:
- one at a time
- safety padding
- check condition
- hazard free surrounds.
Tragically, there were at least 128 fatalities during 2011–18 from quad bike accidents and many more seriously injured every day. Deaths and serious injuries are continuing to occur throughout 2019, and the summer holiday season is one of the most common times for quad bike deaths in Australia.
To help protect you, your loved ones, friends and work colleagues from having a quad bike accident this summer:
- be fully prepared by being properly trained and reading the operator’s manual for safe riding practices
- always wear a helmet and protective gear, such as goggles, long sleeves and pants, boots and gloves
- fit an operator protection device to help protect against crush injuries in the event of a rollover incident
- never let children ride quad bikes meant for adults
- never carry passengers on quad bikes designed for one person
- never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- always carry a mobile phone or radio device and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
Read more about quad bike safety.
Aquatic toys and flotation devices
Aquatic toys and flotation devices are not safety devices. Children who can't swim may drown if their aquatic toy fails or if they do not use it properly. Children injured while playing with a toy in the water are at greater risk of drowning. Parents and carers should constantly watch children when using these types of toys. When buying or using aquatic toys, check the age and weight restrictions to ensure the products are appropriate for use. Read the warning labels and packaging carefully and follow instructions for proper assembly and use
Pool gates and locks
Swimming pools are the leading location for drowning for children under the age of 15, so it is important to ensure that pool gates and locks are in working order. Locking devices on pool gates and fences can be defective or wear out over time. Check that your pool gate and latches are locking properly when the gate is closed to ensure that unsupervised kids can’t access the pool. Never leave a pool gate propped open.
Mermaid tails and Monofins
Always supervise children using a mermaid tail or a monofin in the pool over the summer. Mermaid tails and monofins should only be used by children over seven that are experienced swimmers.
In 2017-18 the ACCC funded a review of mermaid tails and fin products by the Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia (RLSSWA).
The report found that these products can significantly hinder a child’s ability to swim and recommended that:
- the wearer should be an experienced and competent swimmer
- mermaid tails and fins should not be used by young swimmers (under the age of seven) or non-swimmers
- products should only be used under active adult supervision in controlled environments such as swimming pools.
Check your lifejackets are up to date with your local marine safety agency requirements.
Every year lives are lost in recreational boating and fishing incidents. Tragically, many deaths could have been prevented by wearing a lifejacket.
When participating in recreational water activities such as boating, canoeing or water skiing, you are required by law to wear a lifejacket. Lifejackets must comply with certain safety standards, be well-maintained and be suitable for the type of recreational activity. Check the requirements in your area with your local state or territory marine safety agency. See Contact details for state and territory marine safety agencies.
And remember, if you are not wearing your lifejacket, it cannot save your life.