The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Chris Pearce

Chris Pearce

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

26 October 2004 - 3 December 2007

Media Release of 19/05/2005

NO.015

A NEW STANDARD AND SAFETY CAMPAIGN
FOR BABY BATH AIDS

“Water and unsupervised children can be a dangerous combination”, the Hon Chris Pearce, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer and Keepwatch Ambassador, warned when launching a new safety standard and campaign for baby bath aids at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne today.

“This new standard ensures all new bath aids must clearly display a warning label that is visible when the child is in the bath aid”, Mr Pearce said. “The label will be a regular reminder to babies’ parents or carers of the need for constant supervision in the bath.”

“Tragically, six babies under 13 months of age have drowned while using a bath aid since 1992. According to the coroners’ reports, lack of parental supervision remains a major factor in bathtub drowning involving bath aids – that’s why education and safety awareness are vital in preventing further drownings.”

Promoting the awareness campaign, Australian Olympic rowing gold medallist and father of two, Mr Drew Ginn, demonstrated safe bathing practices for parents.

“While bath aids can help a carer by providing a free hand and a means of support for the child, it can't keep a baby safe in carer's absence”, Mr Ginn said. “A child in a bath should only ever be supervised by an adult; leaving a baby in the care of an older child is not sufficient.”

He guided parents on some simple safeguards at bath time including keeping the bath water level to a minimum by only using enough water to wet the baby using their hands; avoiding unnecessary distractions by getting their child's clothing and towel ready before running the bath; and recommended that parents learn how to perform resuscitation and CPR on infants.

Mr Pearce's portfolio responsibilities include the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and consumer safety.

“The standard and education campaign is aimed to remind carers that a bath aid is not a safety device”, said ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel. “A bath aid should never be used as a substitute for adult supervision of a child in the bath.”

The safety campaign is supported by Royal Life Saving which shares the Government’s concern about baby bathtub deaths.

Royal Life Saving National Manager of Health and Research Promotion, Mr Richard Franklin, said “Supervision means being within arms-reach of your child. The occasional glance while tending to other chores is not sufficient, so ignore the telephone and the doorbell - if you must leave the bathroom for any reason, take your baby with you”.

The ACCC has produced a brochure and poster as part of a public education campaign to illustrate the steps parents can take to reduce bathtub drowning hazards while using a bath aid.

The campaign materials are being distributed through child safety and health education organisations across Australia.

To order the ‘Safety Alert: Baby Bath Aids’ poster or brochure call 1300 302 502.

For other information on keeping your children water safe visit the Royal Life Saving website (www.keepwatch.com.au).

19 May 2005
Contact: Gillian Harvey 03 9887 3890 or 0411 567 060