Tip 3: Watch the driveway
In Queensland alone, the emergency data from 2018 shows Queensland Children’s Hospital clinicians treated almost one child a month for serious injuries caused by being run over by a slow moving vehicle.
“Young children don’t have an innate sense of danger. Of course you should be teaching them that a moving car is dangerous, but there’s no guarantee they will act on that information reliably,” says Dr Bronwyn Griffin, a senior research fellow at the Child Research Centre at the Queensland University of Technology.
“For parents, the three “S”s are key for driveway safety: You need to supervise, separate and see,” Dr Griffin says.
Supervising a young child near a driveway goes even beyond the constant vigilance parents need to demonstrate around a swimming pool: it requires physical restraint.
“Don’t rely on small children to respond to your verbal prompts; there needs to be a physical restraint like a hand being held when a car is being moved,” Dr Griffin says.
Separate children from the area where cars are being moved.
“We recommend a physical barrier of some sort, and if your garage is attached to the house ensure the handle is high and the door is self closing,” Dr Griffin says.
Lastly, always ensure you can see all children when moving a vehicle in your driveway.
“Look around the car beforehand, including underneath, and if there’s no other adult there put your child in the car to move the vehicle,” Dr Griffin says.
Tip 4: Know how to treat burns
According to Kidsafe Queensland almost 80 per cent of serious burns and scalds to young children occur in the home.
“We see burns a lot in the emergency room, and most of the time they are avoidable,” Dr Griffin says.
Hot beverages are usually the main culprits, so keep tea and coffee far from a young child’s reach while it cools. Dr Griffin says hospital staff members also treat many children burned by oven doors or stovetops.
“We would deter parents from putting kids up on the bench to watch you cook,” she says.
Dr Griffin believes that just over 30 per cent of caregivers get burns first aid right. A serious burn should be put under cold running water for twenty minutes.
“It’s actually a really long time to keep a child under cold water: they don’t particularly like it so time it to ensure you make the full 20 minutes. It is so important for the outcome of the burn. It significantly decreases the depth of the burn and significantly speeds up the time it heals,” Dr Griffin says, pointing out that both these actions will reduce the risk of scarring, an issue that requires ongoing surgery as the child’s body grows but their scar doesn’t.
Tip 5: Get trained
Dr Griffin believes all parents should know CPR and the correct first aid for burns.
“First aid is vital for burns, and CPR has certainly saved a lot of children who have been submerged in water,” Dr Griffin says.