Homes a death trap for chil­dren

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - CATRIN OWEN

An Auck­land fam­ily’s lives changed for­ever af­ter their son tipped boil­ing wa­ter over him­self.

It was two weeks be­fore Jack Drag­ice­vich’s third birth­day and he had just got out of the bath when he heard the mi­crowave beep.

Be­ing the in­quis­i­tive boy he is Jack opened the mi­crowave and pulled a bowl of steam­ing hot veg­eta­bles down his front. The ac­ci­dent hap­pened in Au­gust 2008 leav­ing him with third de­gree burns.

His dad Paul Drag­ice­vich said it changed the fam­ily for­ever.

‘‘Jack suf­fered from third de­gree burns across 11 per cent of his body, from his neck­line to his belly but­ton,’’ Drag­ice­vich said.

‘‘It was one of those ac­ci­dents you don’t see com­ing and life never re­ally got back to nor­mal.’’

Jack, who is now 11 years old, is help­ing launch na­tional child safety or­gan­i­sa­tion Safekids’ new cam­paign called Whare, which aims to raise aware­ness about dan­gers to chil­dren at home.

Every year about 50 chil­dren un­der five years old are killed and nearly 3000 are hos­pi­talised from in­juries caused at home. Home in­juries of chil­dren un­der five years old are also a huge cost to the New Zealand econ­omy, ac­count­ing for $29 mil­lion in ACC claims a year.

Safekids di­rec­tor Ann Weaver said the in­ter­ac­tive ex­hi­bi­tion, has been built to de­pict a real house and pro­vides ed­u­ca­tion on top­ics in­clud­ing burns, drown­ing, suf­fo­ca­tion, poi­son­ing, cut­ting, drive­way runovers and swal­low­ing.

‘‘We in­vite whanau to visit our house, to touch, ex­pe­ri­ence, have a con­ver­sa­tion and take away im­por­tant lessons on what they can do to pre­vent chil­dren from be­ing se­ri­ously in­jured in their own homes,’’ Weaver said.

The Whare will be on dis­play at Auck­land City Hospi­tal from De­cem­ber 6 to 9 and will visit 10 re­gions through­out New Zealand in 2017.

Jack spent seven weeks in hospi­tal, un­der­go­ing surgery five times. He has con­tin­ued hav­ing surgery be­cause the scar tis­sue doesn’t stretch as he grows.

De­spite the ac­ci­dent and per­ma­nent scars, Jack is a con­fi­dent boy.

‘‘He doesn’t let his scars ef­fect him,’’ Drag­ice­vich said.

Shop­ping trol­leys are tak­ing on a whole new life in the New Zealand Dance Com­pany’s lat­est per­for­mance. For much of De­cem­ber the com­pany is per­form­ing Shaun Parker’s Trol­leys in Aotea Square as part of Auck­land Live Sum­mer in the Square.

Photo gallery p4.

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