The recent snap of cold weather has prompted a warning to parents and grandparents of toddlers tobe wary of the dangers of burns and scalds.

Melissa Abalo of Homesafe Kids, said today that with winter approaching, families need to be more vigilant about ensuring their children and grandchildren don’t suffer permanent injuries or disfigurement from burns and scalds, most of which occur in the home.

Homesafe Kids is a professional home safety inspection organisation dedicated to implementing safety in the Home for Kids, Toddlers, Babies and for elderly residents.

Ms Abalo said the latest statistics compiled by the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit at Monash University reveal that 1,709 Victorian children were treated in hospital for burns and scalds. These figures do not include deaths that are held by the Victorian Coroner’s Court.

“Homesafe Kids home safety assessments show that in 60% of Victorian houses, hot water exceeds 55 degrees and fire extinguishers or safety blankets are not installed. A further 30% of homes have inadequate or non-functioning smoke alarms. Many more have dangerous kitchen and dining areas that can cause serious injuries.

“With winter coming on, there will be an increase in the use of heaters, hot drinks and boiling water, all of which are potentially dangerous to young children. Of particular concern are the risks presented in children’s grandparents’ homes, where child home safety may not have been on the agenda for many years,” Ms Abalo said.

Tips to ensure the safety of young children over the winter period include:

  • Making sure matches and lighters are out of reach
  • Fitting combustion heaters and exposed gas fires with safety barriers
  • Removing tablecloths when toddlers are present, so they cannot accidentally upturn hot drinks and food onto themselves
  • Checking smoke detectors are in working order
  • Restricting hot water to 50 degrees, otherwise safety covers should be applied
  • Isolating kitchens and potential hazard areas

Ms Abalo said that a complimentary do-it-yourself child home safety checklist can be downloaded from the HomesafeKids website, and that parents and particularly grandparents should organise a child home safety inspection to ensure that dangers in their homes are minimised.

A fact sheet outlining child home injury statistics is also available.