As people gather with families and friends or head off to the beach this summer, there’s a reminder to take extra care with the safety of babies and young children.

“Summer in New Zealand is a great time to relax at home or venture out but it’s also a time when babies and young children are particularly at risk,” says Dr Nick Baker, Chair of the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee (CYMRC).

“It’s a busy time of year and it’s easy to overlook the precautions we would normally take. That might involve relaxing our supervision of young children while we’re at a barbecue, forgetting to check properly before reversing out of a driveway or putting babies to sleep in a less than ideal bed because the house is full of guests.

“Tragedy can strike in the blink of an eye, however, so we need to be as vigilant over the Christmas and New Year period as we would any other time.”

He says babies and young children need sober caregivers at all times and active supervision. Babies need to sleep in a cot or bassinette in a smokefree room that is not too hot, and be placed on their backs so they can breathe unobstructed as they sleep. Extra care needs to be taken to ensure young children are safe around vehicles, especially as visitors arrive or depart.

“Let’s enjoy the holiday break and ensure the most vulnerable members of our communities stay safe.”

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