Property and strata managers are being urged to ensure that rental properties include features that minimise the chance of accidents involving children.
The NSW government, which said 8,000 children are admitted to hospitals annually due to falls, has launched an education campaign to protect the state’s children from avoidable death and injury.
NSW health minister Jillian Skinner said a working party lead by The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, in Sydney, has recommended the launch of an education campaign to reduce the incidence of childhood falls.
“The campaign is backed by the recommendations of a report on childhood health and safety,” she said.
Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts said posters will be sent directly to all licensed property and strata managers in NSW so they can provide this information to landlords, rental tenants, strata owners corporations and strata residents.
He said the campaign material would include “simple tips to avoid injury and save lives, [such as]:
• Ensure windows are locked and cannot be opened by a child
• Install metal window guards with bars less than 10cm apart
• Keep furniture away from windows and balustrades
• Remember flyscreens do not provide protection
• Always supervise children on balconies and in other people’s homes.”
The NSW government’s initiative comes at the same time that home owners are being warned about the dangers inherent to children from inadequate fencing.
Warren Smith, managing franchisor of south east Melbourne for Jim’s Fencing, said most childhood injury involve cases that could be avoided by simply having the right fencing installed.
He said with summer approaching, owners should check their pool fences are secure and that the gates are not faulty.
“It’s unbelievable the amount of pool fences we see that haven’t been maintained and can pose a serious threat,” Mr Smith said. “What’s the point of having a pool fence if a child can easily open the gate and gain access to the pool area?”
He also said the driveway area can be just as dangerous as a pool and that parents should consider a fence and safety-gate to secure this area.
“There has been a terrible spate of accidents where children have been able to access a driveway and this has resulted in tragedy.”
Another area of concern is dangerous dogs getting into or out of properties.
“We are able to dog-proof a yard. We can install no-dig fences and no-climb fences that will prevent even the most determined animal from getting into or out of your yard.”
Warren said there are legal requirements for home owners with pools and dangerous dogs, but the laws vary depending on where you live.
“Part of the problem is the lack of standardization around the country,” he said.
“There are different rules and regulations concerning fences for each council and state as to what the requirements are. But homeowners and landlords need to take responsibility to ensure the security of their property.”