Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is urging families to be vigilant in the coming months about the dangers presented by pools, barbecues, gas cookers and inadequately maintained balconies and decks.
“Summer means more of us spending time outdoors but that lifestyle living doesn’t come without potential risks, especially where children are concerned,” Mr Stowe said.
On average, 11 children under five drown in NSW every year, with a further 62 children admitted to hospital after being rescued.
According to the 2015 Royal Life Saving Society report, swimming pools accounted for 54 per cent of drowning for children under five.
Mr Stowe urged parents and supervisors to never leave young children unattended, regardless of the depth of the pool. Children must be kept within arms’ reach and have their flotation and inflatable pool toys checked for signs of wear and tear.
“Toddlers are the most at-risk group for drowning. Without active adult supervision, even a few centimetres of water can prove fatal,” Mr Stowe said.
“Like everyone in the community, Fair Trading would like to see these tragic figures significantly reduced. To do this, we need the unconditional cooperation and strict vigilance of every parent, guardian and adult supervisor.”
Under the Consumer Goods (Portable Swimming Pools) Safety Standard 2013, all portable pools and their packaging must display standard labels about the supervision of children and safe pool storage.
Outdoor food preparation is synonymous with the summer season and Fair Trading has some important safety tips for consumers regarding barbecues and small gas cookers. This follows the receipt of 13 reports this year relating to injuries from the use of these devices.
“You should regularly check the connection point at the barbecue gas bottle. Be aware of what LP gas smells like and check if there is any build-up of unburnt gas when lighting the barbecue,” Mr Stowe said.
Fittings and hoses of gas appliances must be frequently checked for wear and tear and parts should be replaced as needed.
“Make sure that the product has an approval mark as all gas barbeques and cookers must comply with Fair Trading’s rigorous safety standards,” Mr Stowe said.
Mr Stowe warned consumers to avoid using barbeques indoors or in any confined space as they presented a fire and health hazard.
Several models of portable butane cookers that have been suspended from sale in NSW since 10 March 2015 and a complete list of affected products is available on the Fair Trading website. These cookers can cause serious injuries as they are susceptible to overheating and exploding.
“Fair Trading has received a number of complaints relating to the illegal and continued sale of portable butane cookers, also known as lunchbox cookers,” Mr Stowe said.
“The safety of consumers is our priority. Please alert Fair Trading on 13 32 20 if you see any of the listed products on sale.”
Balconies and decks are another integral aspect of summer living that if misused or unmaintained, can lead to significant injuries.
The stability of deck and balcony structures can be weakened by heavy loads, coastal and corrosive environments, water and insects.
“I encourage all homeowners to conduct regular inspections and maintenance of their balconies and decks, and to access Fair Trading’s Deck and Balcony Safety Guide on our website.” Mr Stowe said.
Only hire licensed tradespeople to undertake repairs. You can check if a tradesperson is properly licensed by calling Fair Trading on 13 32 20.”
Fair Trading recommends following a series of guidelines and videos on www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au for information on how to protect family members from preventable accidents.