Media Release


It Only Takes a Split Second



 Raising awareness of child injury prevention this National Kidsafe Day

Kidsafe Victoria has issued a reminder that all it takes is a split second for a child to be seriously injured, with an average of 3 children dying every week from preventable injuries in Australia.  

The call comes on National Kidsafe Day, Tuesday 27 October, the aim of which is to highlight key injury causes – the majority of which can happen in a split second – and key steps to reduce the risk of injury and death.  

Kidsafe Victoria CEO, Melanie Courtney, highlighted that children's curiosity and lack of awareness of danger places them at increased risk of injury. 

“This year has been like no other. With more children at home and parents juggling working from home commitments with remote learning, sadly we have seen a spike in child deaths from unintentional injuries, often referred to as ‘accidents’.” 

Data from the Victorian Coroners Court reveals that sadly two Victorian children - aged 3 and 4 years - have died from injuries received from curtain and blind cord incidents in the last 12 months.

“Looped curtain and blind cords pose a significant strangulation hazard for children; it only takes a few seconds for a young child to get tangled in a cord that is too long or looped, but that few seconds can lead to a lifetime of devastation”, said Ms Courtney. 

Other hazards that can change a life in a split second include a cup of hot tea or coffee left in reach of a child; backyard swimming pool gates propped open; unstable furniture; household cleaners accessible under the sink; a car reversing out of the driveway; and accessible button batteries.

“Keeping safety front of mind and ensuring there are a number of key safety measures in place – including active adult supervision – can help to prevent a child from losing their life or suffering a serious injury” said Ms Courtney.  

As part of National Kidsafe Day, Kidsafe is urging families to make it a priority to check their homes and take action on items such as curtain and blind cord tensioning devices.

For more information and resources to help keep children safe, including safety checklists and tips, please visit  

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Media Communications - Mobile: 0417 329 201


Homeowners Urged to Register and Check Their Pool Barriers to Save Lives



Would you take Fifteen Minutes to Check your Backyard Pool is Safe this Daylight Saving?

With summer approaching and families eagerly anticipating a return to backyard pool parties and gatherings after recent restrictions, Kidsafe has urged homeowners to ensure their backyard swimming pools are safe and comply with the regulations, to prevent toddler drownings.

The call comes at the launch of the Kidsafe’s annual ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ backyard pool safety campaign, which encourages pool and spa owners to check their barriers at the beginning of daylight saving.

Figures from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia's national drowning report show that in 2019/20, 12 Australian children aged 0-4 years of age drowned. Swimming pools were the leading location where these incidents occurred, accounting for 50% (6) of all toddler drowning deaths. 

Drowning continues to be one of the leading causes of accidental death for Australian children under 5 years of age.

Matt Welsh, Australian Swimming Champion and Kidsafe Ambassador

Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria, said whilst Kidsafe could not hold its traditional media launch during the COVID-19 pandemic, the child safety organisation has extended its community awareness and social media campaign to ensure families are prepared and equipped to keep their children safe in and around water.

As part of the campaign, Matt Welsh, Australian Olympic Swimming Champion and Kidsafe Ambassador, features in a video providing vital, simple advice to all pool and spa owners on how to regularly check and maintain their barriers.

While pool and spa barriers are effective in helping to reduce childhood drowning incidents, Mr Chambers said that a large number of drowning deaths are the result of barriers that are faulty, have not been maintained, or are non-compliant with Australian standards.

“It is vital that all homeowners constantly check the safety of their pool and spa barriers in the lead up to the warmer months - a time when there is an increased use of backyard swimming pools and spas. Doing so could save a life.”

Mr Chambers said one of the most common dangers leading to drownings in backyard swimming pools involved gates or doors, including those that had become faulty or non-compliant and those that had been propped open for convenience - all which can allow children unsupervised access to the water area.

“Toddlers are attracted to water, however they don’t yet understand the dangers that it can pose. They can drown quickly and silently - a split second is all it takes for them to gain unsupervised access to the water area and find themselves in trouble.”

Top 5 Issues with pool and spa barriers

Kidsafe has highlighted the top 5 faults or non-compliance issues which are important for all homeowners to regularly check and maintain. These include:

  • The gate or door is no longer self-closing
  • The gate or door is no longer self-latching
  • The gate is propped open
  • There are gaps, holes or spaces in and under the barrier which a child can get through
  • There are climbable objects near the pool barrier e.g. BBQ's, outdoor furniture, trees etc.
CEO of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Victoria (SPASAVIC), Chris Samartzis, highlighted the importance of pool and spa owners conducting regular checks of their barriers.

“Pools and spas provide endless hours of fun for families. Maintenance and compliance of pool and spa barriers is vital because they are exposed to the extremes of weather all year round which can lead to rust, loose or missing bolts or screws and wear and tear over time.” 

Top pool and spa safety actions to help keep children safe

As well as a pool or spa barrier that is regularly checked and maintained to ensure it is in correct working order, Mr Chambers said it is also important for parents and carers to have a number of other actions in place to help keep their children safe, including:  

  • Active adult supervision - for toddlers, this means having an adult within arm's reach at all times when in or around water.  
  • Water awareness - Water awareness and learn to swim classes can assist in helping children to become familiar with water, teaching them about water safety and learning how to swim 
  • CPR/First Aid knowledge - Kidsafe encourages all parents and carers to enrol in a CPR/First Aid course and to update their skills regularly. Doing so will assist in ensuring they are equipped to respond if an emergency does arise 

Victorian Pool Owners RED Alert Reminder - 5 Weeks Left to Register Your Pool or Spa.

Kidsafe has also issued a reminder to Victorian homeowners about the requirement to register their pool or spa with the local council before the November 1st 2020 deadline, as part of new laws to improve swimming pool and spa safety. 

The laws also introduce new inspection and certification requirements for pool and spa owners in Victoria. Further information on these requirements can be found on the Victorian Building Authority website.

Kidsafe Victoria pool and spa safety website

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Media Communications - Mobile: 0417 329 201 


Alarm at Spike in Children's Deaths



Since 1st August, 8 children have died across metropolitan and regional Victoria.

Kidsafe Victoria and The Royal Children’s Hospital are urging parents and carers to set up safe play areas and actively supervise children, in response to an alarming spike in unintentional injury deaths.

Statistics from the Coroners Court of Victoria reveal that since 1st August, 8 children have died across metropolitan and regional Victoria due to unintentional injuries. These include 3 drowning incidents, a driveway runover, a pedestrian incident, a household fire and a curtain chain strangulation. 

It is a significant spike, considering on average, 17 Victorian children aged 0-14 years usually die every year as a result of an unintentional injury according to the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit.

Melanie Courtney, CEO of Kidsafe Victoria, said children under the age of five are inquisitive and love to explore, however they don’t yet understand the danger that many hazards can pose. All it takes is a split second for children to get into trouble and that split second can be life changing.

“It is such a challenging time - parents and carers are looking after children at home more often – most of whom are being home-schooled, and in amongst all of this they are also juggling working from home,” said Ms Courtney.

Dr Warwick Teague, Director of Trauma at The Royal Children’s Hospital, acknowledged the home is the most common location where children’s injuries take place, a place we are spending more time than ever before in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unintentional injuries are one of the leading causes of death and hospitalisation for Australian children. Common causes include transport incidents, drowning, choking or suffocation, TV and other furniture tip overs, falls and poisoning,” said Dr Teague.

“It is very concerning that the number of deaths of children has been so high in 2020 - even one death is too many.” 

Ash Napolitano, mum of 2-year-old Hunter, is still coming to terms with the devastating grief of losing her son in a dam drowning last month.

“You can’t be complacent. Not for a second. The way that this has impacted me and my family is raw and painful. We buried Hunter on the Tuesday and we saw on the Friday that another 2-year-old drowned 2 hours away from us. It just broke my heart,” said Ms Napolitano. 

“It’s not something you want in common with anyone. We want to try and make a difference. Just get it out there that these little ones are so fast and so curious and we have to be more attentive.”

With school holidays commencing next week, Kidsafe Victoria and The Royal Children’s Hospital are encouraging parents and carers to be mindful of potential injury hazards in their homes and to consider strategies to help reduce the risk.

“Setting up safe play areas in the home which are separated from other hazards, is one of the strategies that can give you peace of mind that your little one will be kept out of harm’s way while you do simple everyday things such as go to the bathroom, take a work phone call, or cook a meal,” said Ms Courtney.

For more information on keeping children safe at home, including a home safety checklist, please visit the Kidsafe Victoria website.

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Media Communications - Mobile: 0417 329 201

Hunter Boyle drowning incident

On 12th August this year, Ash Napolitano and Matt Boyle lost their beautiful 2 year old boy, Hunter. Tragically, he drowned in a Grahamvale dam while visiting his Grandfather’s farm. He was feeding the horses, when in an instant he went missing and was found unresponsive in the water a short time later.

Hunter was rushed to Goulburn Valley Health in Shepparton where doctors, nurses and members of The Royal Children's Hospital PIPER Unit spent close to seven hours fighting to save his life.


Team Effort to Reduce Toddler Drowning Deaths



'Kick a Goal' for Backyard Pool Safety by Setting Your Pool Defence
In 2017/2018, 18 Australian children aged 0-4 years drowned

Small Magnets Pose Big Danger for Children



Kidsafe Victoria has issued a warning to parents and carers about the dangers of children choking or suffering serious internal injuries if they ingest magnets.

Almost 500 Victorian Children Treated in Hospital Annually for Farm Injuries



Kidsafe Victoria has released the results of its Farm Safety Creative Competition, an initiative aimed at preventing the number of serious injuries on farms which are responsible for almost ten Victorian children per week being treated in hospital.



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