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EQC and Plunket partner to keep babies safer in earthquakes

EQC and Plunket partner to keep babies safer in earthquakes

Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable to harm during earthquakes as they can’t take actions like Drop, Cover and Hold to protect themselves.

A new partnership between the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and Whānau Āwhina Plunket will help ensure thousands of new parents get key preparedness information that will help them keep their tamariki safe.

“Because babies and very young children can’t keep themselves safe, it’s up to us as parents and caregivers to make sure the environment around them is as safe as possible for events like earthquakes,” says Dr Jo Horrocks, Chief Resilience and Research Officer at EQC.

EQC says the immediate focus should be on the child’s room and there are some simple actions to take that will help make it safer.

  • Use metal angle brackets and screws, or seismic straps, to secure tall and heavy furniture items into wall studs.
  • Place baby’s cot or your child's bed away from windows - ideally next to an internal wall.
  • Don’t hang pictures or shelves directly above baby’s cot or the child's bed.
  • Ensure any pictures or mirrors in the room are hung on appropriate hooks (no single nails).
  • Move any heavy items off high shelves to a safer spot lower down.
  • If baby’s cot has castors, make sure these are locked to help stop the cot moving around during earthquake shaking.

“These are all relatively quick and easy actions that will make a big difference to a child’s safety during an earthquake,” says Dr Horrocks.

The partnership with EQC was a natural fit, says Whānau Āwhina Plunket Chief Executive Amanda Malu (Kāi Tahu).

“The safety and wellbeing of our tamariki is at the heart of everything we do here at Whānau Āwhina Plunket New Zealand. With us visiting Kiwi families in their homes, our nurses are uniquely placed to talk with parents directly about any safety concerns. For us it’s vital that we be able to deliver our services free-of-charge, so as a charity these partnerships with the likes of EQC are so important for the work we do.”

The partnership between EQC and Whānau Āwhina Plunket New Zealand is for an initial one-year period and will include national and regional activity.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Earthquake Commission
Dan Whitfield
027 202 8494 | media@eqc.govt.nz

Whānau Āwhina Plunket
Heidi Anicete
027 312 7915 |Heidi.Anicete@plunket.org.nz

Video link: Make Your Place Quake Safe – Nurseries and Children’s Rooms
Visit the EQC website for more information: https://www.eqc.govt.nz/be-prepared/nurseries-and-childrens-rooms

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