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.
To have a safe summer, follow our safety tips and keep up-to-date on the latest product recalls.
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.
- 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.
Tragically, at least 124 Australians have died since 2011 from quad bike accidents and many more are being seriously injured. The summer holiday season is one of the most common times for quad bike deaths in Australia.
To help protect you and your loved ones 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
- 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.
Young children are at risk of drowning when portable pools aren't emptied between use or appropriately fenced. Be aware of how to avoid drowning hazards when purchasing and using a portable pool. In most states and territories pool fencing laws apply to any type of pool, filled with more than 30cm of water. Drowning or permanent brain injury can occur even in a small portable pool containing very little water, so watching children is imperative.
- Keep watch at all times when a portable pool is filled and being used by young children.
- Always empty smaller pools when not in use and store them in a place out of reach of children and where they cannot refill with rain or sprinkler water.
- Check with your council or government agency about safety barrier requirements if the pool is 30cm deep or more.
Locking devices on pool gates
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.
There were 27 children under the age of 15 who drowned in Australia in 2017–18. Swimming pools were the leading location for drowning among this age group so it is important to ensure that gates and locks are in working order.
Button batteries are found in common household items and can cause serious injuries or death. If the button is swallowed by a young child, 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.
Working under cars
When working on cars at your home or at a workshop, remember that safety is the number one priority for yourself and for others. Over the past decade, at least 46 Australians have been crushed and killed when working under a vehicle. On average, 160 injuries are associated with jacks each year. Injuries range from amputation to fractures and crush injuries.
Most of the deaths were men and involved the vehicle being lifted or supported in the wrong way. Home mechanics are most at risk of this type of death or injury. Know the risks and protect yourself, your friends, family and workmates.
- Vehicle jacks are generally for changing tyres only – never get under a car that is only supported by a jack.
- When working under your car, use a trolley jack to lift the car before lowering it onto vehicle support stands. Use vehicle support stands on a hard surface before working under your car.
- Never place any part of your body under a vehicle unless it is sitting securely on support stands or ramps.
- Never allow a person or pet to remain in the vehicle while it is being jacked.
- Never exceed the weight capacity of the jack.
Safe ladder use
Stop and think before you use a ladder. In one year 1668 people aged 65 years and over were hospitalised because they fell from a ladder.
- Read the safety warnings on the ladder and follow the manufacturer's advice.
- Ensure the ladder is in good condition and fitted with non-slip safety feet. Store it in a dry place to prevent warping or corrosion.
- Place the ladder on dry, firm and level ground that is clear of power lines and exposed electrical wiring, and engage all locks and braces.
- Secure the top of an extension ladder into position before starting work. The top of the ladder should extend at least one metre over the top of the surface it is resting on.
- Stay in the centre of the ladder as you climb. Never lean out too far from a ladder, always work within arm's reach and be careful when pulling items from shelves, gutters and roofs as this may cause you to lose your balance.
- Only climb to the second rung from the top of a step ladder or the third rung from the top of an extension ladder.
- Two people should never climb the ladder at the same time even if their combined weight is below the maximum weight capacity.
- Never use a ladder if you are alone and cannot get assistance if you have an accident.
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 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.
Blind and curtain cords
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.
Baby bath aids
Baby bath aids are not safety devices. Make sure you buy a baby bath aid that carries the required safety warning. Babies and young children have drowned when left unsupervised. This can happen if the child slips off, rolls off or climbs out of the seat; the child becomes trapped in the seat openings; another child in the bath plays roughly and pushes the young child out of the bath aid or tips the child over in the bath aid.
- Be prepared – make sure you have what you need within arms’ reach before the bath time ritual begins. Collect towels, clothes and other items.
- Be close – always ensure young children are supervised by an adult (not another older child) when they are in or around water. This includes in the bathroom!
- Be attentive – restrict access to water by emptying the bath and closing the bathroom door when bath time is over.
- Be first-aid aware – be prepared to respond in an emergency and know how to resuscitate small children. Refresh your first aid skills regularly.
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.