Along with many New Zealanders, Plunket worries about the arrival of winter.
“At this time of the year, families on low incomes really struggle to make ends meet and often can’t afford high heating bills. We encourage all landlords and property agents to make sure their rental homes are insulated, heavy curtains have been provided to keep out drafts, and any water leaks or dampness are dealt with quickly,” said Sue Campbell, Plunket’s National Child Safety Advisor.
“Winter is also a time when ongoing illnesses, such as asthma and bronchitis get worse. If your child becomes ill and you’re worried about what to do, you can always call Plunketline for some quick, free advice or visit your GP. Almost all GPs provide free care for children during office hours, and all prescriptions are free for children under 13.
“Burns from heaters and fires are a real danger for children, with almost 4,000 children needing treatment for burns each year. Our advice is to keep a fireguard around your fire and, if you can, attach your heaters to a wall so they can’t fall or be moved. Keep everything a metre away from the heater so nothing can catch fire - this includes children. Check children’s clothing labels to see if the material is flammable – natural fibres like wool and cotton are much more fire resistant than nylon and polyester.
“Also check your smoke alarms, they save lives. “It’s best to have working alarms in every bedroom, living area and hallway, and test them monthly”.
“Families tend to do more cooking in winter, so remember to use the back elements of the stove whenever possible and turn pot handles away from the stove front so they can’t be pulled down by young children.”
Condensation is also a problem in winter. When you are trying to stay warm it’s easy to forget that when there’s a fine day, or everyone is out of the house, it’s a good time to open up windows and let the air flow through. That will help get rid of the dampness.
“Take care this winter and be alert to the dangers to young children within the home” said Ms Campbell.
For more information contact Sue Campbell.