Keep kids safe over the festive season and at all times

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Central West parents should watch out for button batteries this Christmas and supervise children closely around vehicles, pools, and other bodies of water to avoid accidents andpotential tragedies.

“I would urge everyone with a pool at home to make sure their pools are properly fenced and that they learn the principles of basic life support,’’ Central West Hospital and Health Service Executive Director of Medical Services Dr David Walker said.

“If there are young children nearby, never leave them unsupervised in or around a pool, creek, dam, pond, or any body of water for that matter.

“Keep an eye on them at all times. It can happen so quickly. Kids are masters at slipping away when you aren’t looking and pools, creeks, ponds, and other bodies of water are like magnets to them. “And not just around bodies of water, always supervise kids around vehicles also.

“It’s so easy for a child to slip away unseen and get behind or under a vehicle, just as you are about to drive off or back out of a driveway and think the way is clear.

“They can also dart out from nowhere and into the path of a moving vehicle without any warning. “So, always keep an eye out. Don’t just think your way is clear – make sure it’s clear.

’’As well as paying close attention to water safety and safety around vehicles, Central West parents also should watch out for button battery hazards, Dr Walker said.

“So many products and devices in our homes contain button batteries, from digital kitchen and bathroom scales to key fobs, remote controls, calculators, toys, festive ornaments and musical greeting cards,’’ he said.

“They present not just a choking hazard, but if swallowed or inserted in the nose or ear, the battery charge can cause an internal caustic injury. This can be fatal.’’ Dr Walker said parents should keep a close eye on products with button batteries and ensure they are secured.

“New button batteries need to be kept out of reach and locked away just as you would with poison or medications,’’ he said.

“Old batteries need to be disposed of carefully as they may still have enough of a charge to generate an electrical current if swallowed.

“If a child swallows a battery, symptoms may mimic common childhood illnesses, with drooling, vomiting, or coughing the most common.

“The child may also have chest pain, abdominal pain and diarrhoea and may refuse hard food, or have a fever.’’ Dr Walker said if parents thought their child had swallowed or inserted a button battery, they should call the state-wide poisons information call line on 13 11 26 and seek medical help immediately.

For more information about pool safety.

For more information about button batteries.