Don’t meet us by accident this summer

With Christmas and New Year only days away, the RCH Emergency Department is calling on all Victorians to take care this summer, to avoid meeting us by accident.

Over the summer, as families enjoy holidays, pools and beaches, and new toys gifted on Christmas day, it’s particularly important for parents to remain vigilant and supervise their children to avoid preventable injuries.

RCH Emergency Department Acting Director, Dr John Cheek said the Department sees many children over the Christmas and New Year period with avoidable injuries, some of whom are very unwell.

“Playing with new gifts is an exciting time, but toys and other household items that contain button batteries and high strength magnets are dangerous. When swallowed, these can cause significant injury, and even result in death,” Dr Cheek said.

“Button batteries need to be kept away from small children, and any electronic equipment that uses these batteries must have a battery compartment that is securely closed with a screw. Spare batteries should always be kept out of reach from children.”

Summer is also the peak time for drownings in Australia, and often these tragic incidents occur around dams and other bodies of water when children are unsupervised.

“Children need to be supervised at all times in the pool, and young children should always be in arms reach of an adult,” Dr Cheek said.

“If you live near or visit an area with a dam, lake or other body of water, please ensure children are always supervised when they are near them.”

Families can also stay safe this summer by being sun smart and wearing a hat and sunscreen, drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and supervising children around backyard barbeques.

We wish all families a safe summer and strongly encourage parents and carers to check out our top tips for keeping children safe over the holidays and our range of Kids Health Info fact sheets.

Top tips for a safe summer

  • Never take your eyes off children in, on or around water. Supervision means constant visual contact, not the occasional glance.
  • Supervise children under five years of age at all times when playing outdoors. Older children need supervision when using trampolines and equipment such as bikes and skateboards.
  • Ensure button batteries are kept out of reach from children and the battery cover of any toys or household items which use a button battery are closed securely with a screw.
  • Remember to ‘Slip, Slop, Slap and Slide’ by wearing sun protection including sunscreen and a hat, even on cooler days when spending time in the sun.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Young children and babies are at greater risk of becoming dehydrated than adults.
  • If travelling by car these holidays, make sure that child car restraints are appropriate for your child’s size and are correctly fitted. Never leave children or pets alone in the car.
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