Did you know, that each year, over 150 Australian children (aged 0-14 years) are killed and over 68,000 hospitalised as a result of unintentional injuries.
The home is the most common place for young children to be injured. Children often spend the greater part of their day at home and they are curious, adventurous and do not have a full understanding of the consequences of their actions.
Most injuries are predictable and preventable. It’s important to make the home environment as safe as possible to minimise the likelihood, frequency and severity of injuries.
Here’s some tips to preventing injuries at home:
1. Smoke alarms
If the existing smoke alarms were manufactured less than 10 years ago, and are still in good working order, they will comply with the new legislative requirements. When replacing smoke alarms, they must be of a photoelectric type which complies with Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014.
Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately.
Property managers/owners are currently required to test and clean smoke alarms and replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days before the start or renewal of a tenancy.
• test and clean (by vacuuming or dusting) smoke alarms at least once every 12 months
• replace any flat or nearly flat batteries
• advise the property owner/manager if there is any issue with the alarm (apart from batteries)
• allow the property owner/manager right of entry to install smoke alarms
• not remove a smoke alarm or the battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm e.g. paint or cover it
2. Blind cords
Make sure children can’t reach any blind or curtain cords, especially if they stand on the furniture.
Don’t let cords dangle into or near children’s equipment. This includes:
• cots (or portable cots)
• high chairs
• anything else your child sits on, lies in or climbs on.
Make sure the bottom of any blind or curtain cord is at least 160cm above the floor. Wrap blind cords securely around a hook attached high on the wall.
For older blinds install a cord tensioning device, such as cord holders and wind-ups, to hold the cord tight against a wall. Alternatively, retrofit the blind or curtain cord with breakaway tassels.
3. Electrical safety switches
Installing a safety switch, also known as Residual Current Devices (RCD), in your switchboard is one of the cheapest, easiest and most effective ways to minimise the risk to you and your family of being electrocuted in your own home. Safety switches monitor the flow of electricity through the electrical circuits in your home. When they detect current leaking from faulty switches, wiring or electrical appliances, they will automatically shut down the electricity supply to that circuit within 300 milliseconds. That’s fast enough to reduce the risk of serious injury or death to you or a family member from electrocution – without them even realising they were in danger.
How do you know if you have one installed already?
You need to look inside your switchboard. Safety switches are made by a variety of different manufactuerers so they don’t all look the same. Sometimes the switch and test buttons are blue, but not all the time. Generally the word SAFETY SWITCH will be written beneath the switch and test button.
4. Pool Safety Certificate
If you need a pool safety certificate, you must engage a licensed pool safety inspector to arrange an inspection.
You can search by local government area or if you are looking for a specific inspector, enter the name, business name or licence number: click the link below
Limit small children’s access to stairs
Add childproof safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs.
Children may get their head, arms or legs caught in the space between balustrade openings.
Make sure the stairs are well-lit. This will help you safely carry small children, and help older children navigate the staircase.
Slick hardwood can be dangerous on stairs. Add non-slip pads or stickers. Carpet also typically provides more traction.
It is tempting to deposit belongings on the stairs to carry on the next trip up or down the steps, but children can trip over these items. Train kids to avoid leaving their toys on or near the staircase, as well. Also, children might climb onto toys, planters and other items on decks and near railings, and may topple over the railing.
Regularly check decks, stairways and balconies for loose railings or boards, and splinters or exposed nails.
Small children tend to climb on furniture such as freestanding bookcases, drawers, wardrobes and sideboards, and if the furniture is unsecured the child’s weight can cause it to topple. Falling furniture can not only strike a child but can trap and crush them underneath, causing the child to suffocate.
• Attach, mount, bolt or otherwise secure furniture to walls and floors.
• Do not put heavy items on top shelves of bookcases.
• Place televisions at the back of cabinets or secure them to the wall.
• Discourage small children from climbing on furniture.
• Do not put tempting items such as favourite toys on top of furniture that encourage children to climb up and reach.
• Do not place unstable furniture near where children play.
• Put locking devices on all drawers to prevent children opening them and using them as steps.
7. Garden maintenance, fencing and tree limbs
If you allow your children to play in the trees in your garden, make sure that you prune the branches to a safe height.
If you have play equipment such as a swing or a slide in the garden, think about where you position it. Ideally, your swing or slide should be positioned over a soft landing area such as well-watered grass or a mat. Do not put any play equipment on a hard surface such as concrete, paving or tarmac, as this can cause a serious injury if they fall from the equipment.
Always practice good safety around barbecues, as they are the cause of many garden accidents every year. Young children need to be kept away from the immediate cooking area at all times and under strict adult supervision when in the vicinity of the barbecue.
For more information
Kids Health Info fact sheet: Safety: Backyards and playgrounds
Kids Health Info fact sheet: Safety: Around the home
Kids Health Info fact sheet: Head injury – general advice
Kids Health Info fact sheet: Cuts, grazes and lacerations
The Royal Children’s Hospital: Falls Prevention
The RCH National Child Health Poll: Summer safety
Product Safety Australia: Kids equipment
If you have a property in Brisbane that you would like to consider engaging a new property management team for, please feel free to contact Paul Tooze directly on 0414 037 007 or the friendly team at All Properties Group (07) 3800 0988.