1 December 2016

Summer safety is simple

SUMMER and the so-called “silly season” can often see safety take a backseat but a simple one-stop-safety-shop for consumers is set to offer important product safety information for consumers this Christmas, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack says.

The Government’s product safety reminders come as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launches its “Safe Summer” campaign.

“As Aussies turn our minds to toys, stocking fillers and the all-important Christmas lunch, product and food safety is more important than ever which is why I am partnering with the ACCC to urge Australians to remain cautious and safe as Christmas and summer approach,” Mr McCormack said.

“Year after year the ACCC sees a range of consumer products which are used more frequently during the summer months and festive season, where sadly, instances of consumer injury – or even worse – can ruin this happy time for Australian families.

“Popular summer activities such as riding quad bikes, swimming in portable pools and getting up on ladders to hang Christmas decorations can cause serious injury, illness and even death if products are used unsafely. We’re warning people to take extra care.

“As Christmas toys for children are top-of-mind and this year’s must-have consumer products adorn the wish lists of children across the country, now is the time to read the label and ensure the age-appropriateness of gifts – especially those with small parts – and to be vigilant with cheap products.”

Mr McCormack urged consumers to take extra caution with portable backyard swimming pools which tragically claimed the lives of 11 children aged younger than five in the 2015-16 year.

“Even in a small portable pool which contains very little water, drowning or permanent brain injury can occur,” Mr McCormack said.

“As a parent, I know it is everyone’s worst nightmare – but it can happen easily – and very quickly.

“With smaller pools ensure you empty them after use and put them away when you are finished with them. Always store portable pools safely away from young children and ensure the pool cannot fill with rain water or water from sprinklers.”

As a country MP, Mr McCormack reminded people on farms and those in regional areas to take extra care when operating quad bikes with seven people already killed in quad-bike accidents this year.

“Tragically, seven Aussies have died from quad bike accidents this year with hundreds of other injuries reported.

“Before getting on a quad bike, ensure you are properly trained and the bike is in a safe condition. Always wear a helmet, protective clothing and gear such as goggles, long sleeves, long pants, boots and gloves.

“Children should never ride quad bikes intended for adults, either as drivers or passengers, and must be supervised at all times. Do not carry any passengers on quad bikes that are meant for one person and avoid riding on rough terrain or steep slopes.”

Ladders are another common household item which can be the cause of the serious injury or harm with many people pulling them out of the shed to clear gutters or hang Christmas decorations this time of year.

“Ladders are commonly used around the home for those DIY tasks but it’s often the split-second decision or risky shortcut that results in a fall. If a ladder is not in good condition or used improperly, falls can cause fractured limbs, spinal cord damage, severe brain injury or death,” Mr McCormack said.

“Choose the right ladder for the job; don’t work in wet or windy conditions. Take time to set up your ladder, have another person hold the ladder, know your limits and work to your ability.

“Christmas and the summer is a very exciting and special time of the year, and ensuring your own safety is as simple as it is critical over the coming weeks and months.

“Take the time to read the label and the instructions, check the ACCC’s website and help make these holidays happy ones for you, your family, friends and loved ones.”

Further product safety information, including on specific products, is available at the ACCC’s website.