Plunket: keep kiwi kids safe this winter
With the cold weather now here across the country, Plunket is reminding families to be alert to the dangers from heaters, fireplaces and other sources of winter warmth.
Sue Campbell, Plunket’s National Child Safety Advisor says keeping babies and young children warm and safe is always a priority for families.
‘‘Burns from heaters and fires are a real danger for children. A fireguard around your fire or heater, attached to the wall so it can’t fall or be moved, will help protect children from burns,’’ she says.
‘‘We advise parents and caregivers to learn and remember the ‘heater-metre rule’.
‘‘It’s about keeping people and any materials that can burn – including bedding, curtains, clothes and furniture, at least one metre from all types of heaters, cookers and fires.
‘‘Children’s winter pyjamas need to be snug-fitting to reduce fire risk. Remember that a label that says ‘low fire danger’ doesn’t mean no fire danger’’.
‘‘Don’t forget your smoke alarms either – they save lives.
‘‘Ensure you have good working alarms in every bedroom, living area and hallway, and you test them monthly.’’
Campbell says other things can be done to keep children safe during the cold winter months as well.
‘‘Matches, lighters and candles are high risk items. Please use child-resistant lighters and safety matchbox holders, and store them up high. Teach your children to go to an adult immediately if they find matches and never let children play with candles or be unsupervised in a room with a lit candle.
‘‘Winter is also the perfect time for hot soups and drinks to keep us warm. When cooking, use the back elements of the stove whenever possible and turn pot handles away from the stove front.
‘‘Holding a young child on your knee as you have a hot drink should be avoided. A cup of hot liquid poured over a young child covers the same area as a bucket of hot liquid poured over an adult.
‘‘Consider using tablemats rather than a tablecloth, children can pull on them and spill hot drinks over themselves.
‘‘Take care this winter and be alert to the dangers for young children within the home,’’ Campbell says.