The Olympics are here and there’s no better time to encourage children to be active.

But parents are being reminded that youngsters’ attempts to mimic Stephen Hooker or the Russian gymnastic team aren’t child’s play.

Each year, thousands of youngsters end up in hospital after injuring themselves at home.

The latest statistics from Monash University’s Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit show that almost 36,000 children were treated for falls and over 4,000 needed medical attention for cuts/punctures.

Child safety spokeswoman Melissa Abalo, from Homesafe Kids, says it’s easy for such incidents to occur.

“The Olympics Games are a lot of fun to watch and can inspire children to try new activities. However, it takes but a second for a little one to jump off a table and hurt themselves, or have a running race and bash into a glass door,” she says. “What makes these situations more unfortunate is that, with a little precaution, they are one hundred per cent preventable.”

Nevertheless, many houses have the safety odds stacked against them.

Data collected from Homesafe Kids assessments show that nearly all Victorian houses inspected have accessible kitchen hazards and a quarter do not have safety glass installed.

Statistics also show that 43 per cent of inspected homes have stairs that do not comply with current safety codes.

“There’s really no excuse for poor safety standards in a family home. These measures can save lives and prevent injuries – doubly as important when you’re taking care of somebody else’s children, too,” Abalo points out.

A D.I.Y. guide to safety-proofing your house can be found at www.homesafekids.com.au, but in the meantime, parents should apply common sense:

-          Always keep an eye on your children

-          Block off areas that are suitable for children to play in. Limit access to the kitchen, stairs, pool, garage, and any other potential hazard zones.

-           Check the thickness of glass – if not up to standard, or if in doubt, keep out of reach of children.

-          Should you have pets, ensure they are kept at bay from children’s play areas or supervised at all times when in their company.

-          Store medicines, alcohol and cleaning products well away.

For media enquiries:

Melissa Abalo

03 9889 0024

www.homesafekids.com.au