Advocate for FDC safety recognised with Consumer Protection Award
Melanie Mitchell, who lost her son Lachlan to a backyard pool drowning incident at a family day care (FDC) service in 2015 was awarded the Kidsafe WA Award for her work in lobbying for a ban on swimming pools at FDCs under the banner of ‘Lachlan’s Legacy’.
The Consumer Protection Awards acknowledge the achievements of people in the community who are helping consumers and tenants overcome difficulties and promote their rights.
Ms Mitchell, an ambassador for Royal Life Saving Society Australia, has lobbied extensively for change to legislation and process in the years following Lachlan’s death, calling specifically for:
- A proactive community working towards reducing incidents of drowning in small children.
- Specific legislation structured around family day care that ensures that the safety of children is priority.
- Improved coronial experience for bereaved families.
- Increased support for families who experience sudden and unexpected child loss.
Alongside Ms Mitchell’s acknowledgement, Francine Bell of Additive Free Kids (AFK) was awarded the 2021 Rona Okely Award for individuals in recognition of her tireless efforts to educate consumers about additives and how to make additive-free choices, particularly when feeding children.
Ms Bell began her work after witnessing the effects food additives had on her own children which inspired her to create a movement whereby she audits ingredient and green/clean labels to “cut through marketing tactics and claims,” in order to identify the facts, which then allows consumers to make informed decisions about the food they eat or feed to children.
This, the Award committee noted, has led consumers to vote with their dollar – in some cases, sales of some products have plummeted, leading to those items being pulled from supermarket shelves altogether.
The Women’s Legal Service WA of Perth was awarded the Richard (Dick) Fletcher Award for its work providing support, advice and legal assistance to women, while the Ruby Hutchison Media Award went to Gary Adshead, from 9News Perth, for his story on the tow truck industry that highlighted the dishonest tactics used by some operators to gain business from consumers involved in motor vehicle accidents.
More information about the Awards is available here.