Media releases 2014


Child proofing your holidays

Monday, 22 September 2014 by Aimee Bourke

With the school holidays approaching and many families planning an overseas trip, Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) is advising parents to pack an extra ration of caution in their luggage.

 Craig Morrison, SCTI CEO, says the company regularly receives claims as a result of childrens’ accidents and illnesses. Often the only common factor is the unexpected and random nature of the incident.

“The other week I heard a story about a family almost missing the start of a cruise because the youngest child had fallen out of bed and hit their head on the bedside table at a hotel. Although the injury wasn’t serious, there was a cut that needed stitches. By the time they’d gone to hospital and waited for treatment they came close to having to re-plan their entire holiday.”

Morrison says that typical injuries include broken bones from falls off trampolines or climbing equipment, grazes or deeper cuts from tumbles off bicycles, cut feet from going barefoot (coral cuts are quite common for example), and reaction to insect bites.

“Anyone with children knows that you simply cannot predict the type of mischief they’ll get themselves caught up in – all you can do is try and prevent the obvious stuff through safety measures. For example, if they are riding a bike or are on a scooter, then they should definitely be wearing a helmet and protective footwear.”

Some of SCTI’s recent childrens’ claims include:

  • $70,000 – child had thumb severed by tow rope while water tubing and had to undergo complex microsurgery.
  • $19,000 – child suffered a seizure requiring a doctor escort to New Zealand for on-going investigation
  • $5,000 – child developed chicken pox and missed flights home
  • $4,000 – child admitted to hospital with Rotavirus
  • $4,000 - child required surgery on broken arm after falling off trampoline

Morrison says that, where possible, parents should aim to exercise the same degree of caution on holiday as they would at home.

“It’s easy to forget that parents spend a lot of time and money accident-proofing their own home, but when staying in different accommodation that same level of Safety isn’t always in place.

“For example, when choosing accommodation, check what level you’re on and, if there are balconies, that they are safe for young children. Balconies shouldn’t have wide railings that children can squeeze through and the railing must be high enough that children can’t climb over.”

Other useful tips include:

  • Research basic first aid, such as what to do if a child chokes, is stung by an insect or suffers a sprain.
  • Pack a first aid kit suitable for your destination.
  • Be very clear to communicate between adults about who is responsible for watching children, particularly around water.
  • Reinforce pedestrian road safety – particularly if cars drive on the other side of the road.