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The OFT says: Don't relax these holidays

15 December 2017

The Office of Fair Trading is urging parents to not relax when it comes to holiday accommodation safety this summer.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said it was easy for otherwise vigilant parents who have ‘child-proofed’ their homes to get caught up in the more exciting or relaxing aspects of a family holiday and forget to check their holiday accommodation is safe for their children.

“Things that aren’t immediately obvious such as unsecured furniture and televisions that can topple onto children or blind cords that hang down low enough for little ones to put their heads through which could turn a dream holiday into a nightmare,” Mr Bauer said.

“Whether you’re going to stay with family, renting a holiday apartment, or renting someone’s home, it is important to check for hazards as soon as you arrive so you can have a safe and relaxing holiday.

“Make sure furniture is stable and preferably anchored to a wall.

“Don’t let your children climb on furniture or put tempting items such as feeding bottles, favourite toys or remote controls on tables or shelves.

“If you have small children and you have something to fence off any furniture of concern, take it with you.

“Ensure all blind and curtain cords are out of reach of young children.

“Check that beds, cots and other furniture is not close enough for your child to reach blind or curtain cords.

“When it comes to bunk beds, make sure the top bunk has guardrails and there are no gaps that could trap your child’s head. Also check that the ladder is secure and that bunk beds are not placed near overhead fans.

“If using a portable cot, ensure the sides and ends are locked into place and the mesh is not torn or broken.

“Resist the temptation to add anything extra into the cot with your child such as toys, quilts, pillows, doonas or cot bumpers, or anything else your child could sit on, lie in or climb on. They can be used as footholds to assist the child to climb out of the cot or can tragically cause suffocation.”

Mr Bauer said there are laws in place that require anyone who provides short-term accommodation in Queensland to provide safe, compliant bunk beds.

“Whether you’re a commercial provider or you’re listing your property on a sharing economy platform, you are required to comply with the law,” Mr Bauer said.

For more information on safe holiday accommodation, visit www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.