DROWNING PREVENTION INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED IN BABY’S BLUE BOOK

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The NSW Opposition is calling on the Baird Government to immediately include water safety information in the “Blue Book” issued to every parent on the birth of their baby.

In 2012 a motion was passed by the NSW Legislative Council to include a page containing information on water safety, but the Premier Mike Baird and Health Minister Jillian Skinner have failed to act.

In 2012 the Labor Opposition called on the NSW Government to include this information to help reduce the number of infant deaths from drowning alongside other information contained in the personal health records of babies.

In NSW every year 100,000 babies are born and the 130 page Baby “Blue Book” contains vital information for parents, particularly new parents, on keeping their child safe. It is the most direct means the NSW Government has of getting important messages out to parents.

Yet despite the booklet containing a full page on Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation and pages on sleeping and car safety there is no information on how to reduce the risk of drowning and what action parents should take.

Even the messages such as, “never leave your child unattended near water, including in the bath, near pools and ponds or around buckets of water”, is missing from the “Blue Book”.

Whilst the Minister for Emergency Services David Elliot has thrown in the towel on reducing drowning deaths, by calling for more personal responsibility, there is a range of actions the NSW Government should be taking.

It is time the Premier took the matter out of the hands of the Minister for Emergency Services, who last year failed to provide any funding under the 2015-16 round of grants for water safety black spots and failed to arrange a meeting of his Water Safety Advisory Council.

Mike Baird cannot wait for his February Cabinet meeting to take action to prevent drownings he should act now and instruct the Minister for Health to include this information.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Many parents rely on the “Blue Book” for lifesaving information about safety, including on how to prevent SIDS and the proper use of child seats, but there is a serious gap on water safety. 

“Informing parents about water safety is the best defence we have in reducing the number of infant drowning deaths.

“Making parents aware of the dangers from day one will start a lifetime water safety practices, like teaching kids to swim.

“A Foley Labor Government will include a water safety page in the Baby “Blue Book” if the Baird Government refuses to act.”