Parents are being urged to keep a closer eye on their children after a spike in accidental deaths in Victoria.

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.”

With school holidays commencing, 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.

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