WA again reminds ECEC providers of the dangers of hot liquids during burns month
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers in Western Australia have again been warned about the dangers posed to children by the presence of hot liquids in their services following a string of recent incidents where children suffered serious burns.
The reminder has been issued to coincide with National Burns Awareness Month, which is held annually in June.
Over the past year, the Department of Communities has prosecuted three WA ECEC services in relation to the following incidents:
- An 11-month-old boy suffered burns after a bucket filled with boiling hot water was left on the floor of a childcare service. He leaned on it to stand up and lost his balance, resulting in his right arm going into the hot water, from his wrist to his shoulder.
- A 16-month-old boy sustained significant injuries when hot tea spilt on him. The tea was in a travel mug that had been placed by an educator on a surface within the child’s reach.
- A five-year-old girl sustained second degree burns to her chest, her right forearm and minor burns to her face when she was splashed with hot water during a playdough-making activity.
All three children required hospital treatment. One required skin grafting, and another continues to require ongoing occupational therapy and treatment.
The approved providers involved in the incidents were each fined over $25,000 by the State Administrative Tribunal after the Department of Communities held investigations into the incidents.
In response to the rise of hot water related incidents, the Department of Communities is carrying out increased spot checks to make sure operators are compliant.
“Burn injuries can have life-long physical and psychological consequences for children. They are incredibly distressing for the children involved, their families and staff,” said WA Community Services Minister Simone McGurk.
“The dangers of using hot water near children are well known, and hot water should not be used in an activity at an education and care service in any circumstances.”
Ms McGurk cautioned that ECEC services are ultimately responsible for the actions of their educators and staff under the National Law, and that they need to ensure their staff are trained in the appropriate practices.
“The State Government acknowledges and is grateful for the hard work of early childhood educators and centres who do the right thing when it comes to keeping children safe,” she added.
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