From the President Dec 2016/Jan 2017

RACV President Kevin White

I am proud of the work RACV does to protect members in time of need. With the bushfire season approaching, we are preparing staff and partners to ensure we are ready to be there for our members. Our preparation once again includes using drones to ascertain details of damage to help members recover as quickly as possible in the event of bushfire damage.

As we enter the holiday period and festive season, I would also like to urge all members to take care whether they plan to travel or stay at home.

This can be a busy time, and when children are on school holidays families tend to change their routine and a moment’s distraction can spell mishap or tragedy. Children are particularly vulnerable in driveways, when cars are pulling in and out.

All drivers need to be extra vigilant when driving and reversing vehicles. Reversing cameras and beepers can save lives, but this technology is no guarantee.

Active supervision around vehicles is essential and adults need to know where children are at all times.

Ensure children hold an adult’s hand or are restrained in a car when near parked or moving vehicles.  Do not let children play around moving cars, hold them close.

Children are naturally curious and the home can be a wonderful place for a child to explore and learn. The home is also where we want to feel safe and so we need to make sure it’s a safe place for children to play.

Every year about 115,000 children under 14 are taken to a hospital emergency department.  About 57,000 of these youngsters hurt themselves in the home.

Falls are the most common reason children go to an emergency department or are admitted to hospital. These are mainly tripping, slipping and falling off things such as:  play equipment, a bed or a chair.

Another common reason children are admitted to hospital is accidental poisoning from a medicine or a chemical substance.

To help avoid poisoning, all medications should be clearly labelled and kept out of reach of children. Avoid calling medication “lollies” and try not to take your medication around children because they can imitate adults.

Burns and scalds are also in the top five reasons children are taken to emergency departments.

Keep hot drinks, hot foods, cooking oils and appliances out of your children’s reach and consider first-aid training to minimise injury severity.

With Christmas just around the corner, many of us will be busy in the mad rush of buying Christmas presents. If you are buying bikes, skateboards or other recreational devices, we recommend that you buy the safety equipment at the same time.

Members want to engage with friends around the holiday time, but we need to be aware of the dangers of broadcasting our holiday plans on social media, as this could alert strangers that our homes are vacant.

Finally, I take this opportunity, on behalf of the Board and staff at RACV, to wish all members a happy and safe Christmas and holiday season.

Kevin W White, President & Chairman of the Board