The aim of National Kidsafe Day is to increase community awareness of preventable child injuries, as well as promote the critical work of Kidsafe Australia. The 2018 theme is ‘Child safety is no accident’ and it can take just a split second to ingest a poison; reverse out of the driveway; or leave a backyard pool gate open. Unfortunately, most serious injuries that can change lives in just a split second are preventable.
Children are curious and inquisitive about their environments and love to explore them in so many different ways. They learn through climbing, jumping, tasting, touching and feeling. However sometimes – particularly in young children under the age of 5, their actions can result in serious injuries if we don’t take the right steps to protect them. Cuts, bruises and grazes are a part of growing up. By ‘protect’ we mean to ensure the environment (home, road, water or play area) is safe for children to prevent them suffering from a serious injury.
Kidsafe strongly believe that all children need to grow up in a stimulating and challenging environment that enables them to develop to their full potential. However, it is also important to remember that children are unable to make accurate risk assessments at such a young age, highlighting the significance of providing a safe environment for them to live, grow and play.
Currently across Australia, approximately 150 child die and more than 60,000 are admitted to hospital due to a serious injury. While this reduction is a great achievement, there is still more to be done – Kidsafe are continuously working to further reduce this figure and create a safer world for children.
The leading causes of injury related death for children include drowning, transport related incidents and choking and suffocation. The major causes of injury requiring hospital treatment include falls, being hit/struck or crushed, transport related injuries, burns and scalds and poisoning. While the statistics are frightening, they are an important reminder of how critical injury prevention really is.
Compared to when Kidsafe Australia was first established in 1979 by a group of paediatricians, regulations have improved markedly. For example, child restraints and pool barriers have become stricter and the availability of free blind cord kids, first aid courses and safe sleeping resources have vastly increased. However, regulation strengthening and availability are not enough – the correct and consistent use of these products are what can prevent child injuries.
The reality is that life threatening incidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and Australia has seen its share of tragedies. Last financial year, there were 18 toddler drowning incidents; every year approximately seven toddlers are fatally run over in driveways – and these don’t take into account those children who survive yet experience serious lifelong implications.
This National Kidsafe Day we urge you to think about a split second that changed your life – an incident from your childhood where you were injured or an instance where you prevented a split second incident.