Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994

Other title

Parliamentary Record 6


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 23 November 1994 It is o f paramount importance that we address ways to prevent injury to our children rather than direct all our efforts at treatment after the event To this end, the Department o f Health and Community Services, through its community care centres and rural community clinics and other community-based organisations such as Kidsafe, provides a range o f child safety services. In particular, Kidsafe offers a range of services including the Early Childhood Injury Prevention Program. This program operates through the community care centres, utilising the existing network o f infant health nurses to provide information to parents on child safety issues. It is a very necessary and effective program. Kidsafe provides programs to organisations such as Family Day Care, Neighbourhood Watch, nursing mothers groups, the Playgroup Association, nursing students and student midwives. Child-care students, ambulance officers and various other groups also are provided with information on ways of preventing accidents. There is provision o f resource library facilities for use by the public as well as professional groups for the purpose of obtaining information on injury prevention, and participation in existing public events via static and audio-visual displays. There is also regular inspection o f child-care centres and the provision o f advice and reference material to address potential hazards in these centres. Kidsafe is actively involved also with a water safety campaign. This campaign aims to inform the public o f the need to take seriously the danger that unfenced backyard swimming pools pose to young children. Drowning in backyard pools is the greatest cause o f death o f toddlers in Australia. Tragically, the Northern Territory has Australias highest reported death rate o f toddler-age children in backyard pools. In the past 2'A years, 7 Territory children have lost their lives in backyard swimming pools. A number o f others have required hospitalisation, including full life support in intensive care. The incidence of pool accidents is an issue o f major concern to the Northern Territory government. I am sure that all members have received representations on this matter and there would be few of us who do not know personally o f families affected by a drowning tragedy. Isolation and separation pool fencing has been shown consistently to be the most effective means to prevent drowning. Pool owners should be encouraged to take all possible steps to prevent children dying in their pools. We must remember that the onus is on the owners o f pools and, in particular, parents with pools to protect children in and around water. Pool owners must ensure their pools are safe from unauthorised access and this responsibility must be further entrenched among pool owners in the Territory. Kidsafe encourages pool owners to surround their pool with isolation or separation fencing and a self-closing gate that meets Australian standards. It also encourages parents to have their children taught to swim at a young age, to have a knowledge of first aid procedures and to supervise children closely whilst they are near water. Given the active lifestyle of Territorians, it is essential that children are taught to respect water, especially around pools and natural waterways. I have mentioned already the Injury Surveillance Project and I would like now to highlight some o f the information gathered from the project to date. The project operated from July 1993 to July 1994 and involved the collection o f information on all children under the age o f 14 years who presented to Royal Darwin Hospital as the result o f accidental injury. We believe that injury surveillance is the key to injury prevention. Information from the Injury Surveillance Project at Royal Darwin Hospital will allow us to pinpoint particular hazards for children and to gain an overall picture of the problems in the Northern Territory. Results so far show that 1 in 10 children require hospital treatment each year as a result o f accidents. The Royal Darwin Hospital alone sees more than 1797

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