Child safety in summer

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

Children love to play outside in summer, and it’s important to keep them safe from injury. Fortunately, with a few precautionary steps, it’s easy to be safe while having fun. Child safety expert Noel Caulfield from Homesafe Group says with increased outdoor activities, there are some things to watch out for. “One of the big things in summer is kids tend to go out with inappropriate footwear. If they’re going to be running around in the garden, or areas where there might be some nasties, wear suitable shoes,” he says.

Noel says checking that pool fences are compliant and the latches work properly is the number one priority for pool safety. Driveways are important too, “make sure kids can’t access driveways, because of reversing vehicles,” he says. “Check your property boundary fences and make sure they’re safe and secure. A toddler can wander away. This is particularly important in rural areas,” Noel says.

If you’re taking kids on the road, make sure they have the correct child restraint and secured safely.

Children should also never be left in cars, RACV manager road user behaviour Melinda Congiu says it is life-threatening. “Many parents give their keys to their child to play with but this is a dangerous practice as children can accidentally lock the car,” she says. “There is never a safe time to leave children in the car. Young children are more sensitive to heat than older children or adults as their body temperature can rise 3 to 5 times faster.”

Video: Temperatures can soar within minutes. Watch Melinda test the inside of a car.

An issue in rural areas is swimming holes and equipment or machinery.

“There’s plenty of accidents that might happen if kids get hold of a power tool or mower. Tools and mowers need to be isolated,” Noel says.

Another problem can be children searching for a cool drink, but finding poison. “People make the mistake of borrowing poisons and putting them in drink bottles. Children become brand-acclimatised and might see Coke or Pepsi or a milk carton,” he says.

“Poisons should always remain in the bottle they came in and all poisons have child-proof lids. Never ever pour a chemical or poison into another bottle.”

For general child safety tips, visit KidSafe’s Ages and Stages guides. Homesafe has a guide for keeping children safe around the home.