Australian home safety organisation Homesafe Group has today warned parents and grandparents that toddlers may be in danger from unsafe stairs and incorrectly installed stair barriers and gates.
Child safety expert Melissa Abalo said that statistics from Homesafe’s child safety home inspections show that 10 per cent of Australian homes have stairs that do not comply with current safety codes.
Moreover, over a third of houses with stairs have balustrades that are inherently unsafe.
The latest statistics from Homesafe Kids, in conjunction with Monash University, also show that 150,000 children Australia-wide visit hospital emergency rooms for falls each year, many of which are from stairs.
Ms Abalo said that Homesafe had seen many examples of incorrectly installed or inappropriate stair gates.
“Homesafe assessors have seen cases where parents and grandparents have caused damage to walls, cabinets or stairs and created a danger at the same time. Others have purchased products, sometimes costing hundreds of dollars, only to find that they couldn’t be used,” she said.
Homesafe has created a gallery showing examples of correctly fitted stair gates and barriers, particularly for unusual situations in an effort to show parents how to reduce the injury possibilities in their home.
Ms Abalo recommends a private, independent home assessment by a professional child safety expert, who will then install any necessary products – all of which are totally non-invasive.
Once the children have grown up and the safety measures are no longer needed in the house, these products can easily be removed.
“There can be nothing worse than seeing your child hurt,” Ms Abalo says. “And knowing that it so easily could have been prevented.”
Discerning parents can download a D.I.Y. home safety guide at www.homesafekids.com.au or contact Homesafe Kids on 1300 77 7233.