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LCQ12: Protecting children's safety at home
     Following is a question by the Hon Leung Man-kwong and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Chris Sun, in the Legislative Council today (March 22):


     It has been reported that two incidents of young children falling from heights occurred in Hong Kong last month, causing the death of a girl and injury to a boy, and arousing public concern about the safety of children at home. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has compiled statistics on the number of home safety incidents involving children resulting from parental neglect in the past three years, and set out the casualties of children involved in each incident;

(2) whether the Government has conducted studies specifically on preventing young children from falling from heights and formulated policies to prevent such incidents; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(3) whether the Government will step up publicity efforts in respect of protecting children's safety at home, appeal to parents to install additional equipment to protect children's safety at home, and provide parents with appropriate support to assist them in installing such equipment; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     In consultation with the Health Bureau, the reply to the Member's question is as follows:

(1) According to the information of the Social Welfare Department (SWD), the number of child neglect cases from 2020 to 2022 were 201, 275 and 276 respectively. The SWD does not maintain the breakdown of incidents involving children's safety at home.

(2) The Child Fatality Review Panel set up by the SWD has made recommendations on measures that can be taken in relation to home safety, including the safe use of window frames with movable padlocks and the recommendation that children should not be left unattended when playing on rooftops. The Department of Health (DH) conducted the Unintentional Injury Survey in 2018 to examine the characteristics and prevalence of unintentional injuries (commonly known as "accidents") in Hong Kong. The survey studied domestic safety practices adopted by households, like installing window locked frames and locking window frames if they can be opened. The survey report recommended that members of the public should always stay alert to the need of modifying home environment and settings where necessary to minimise the risks of domestic injury. Besides, parents, schools and educational institutes should work together to minimise the risk of injury in the living environments.

(3) The SWD has launched a series of territory-wide and district-based publicity programmes on child protection and produced a series of promotional videos as well as various publicity campaigns promulgating the messages to protect the children from being maltreated. In connection with child neglect, the SWD has adopted the publicity theme of "Don’t leave children unattended" and "Take proper care of children" to raise parents'/carers' awareness of the consequence of child neglect. In 2019, the SWD also produced a microfilm "No neglect of children. Seek help. Don't wait." and different promotional materials to enhance the public awareness on child neglect and educate the public not to ignore the child's basic needs. The SWD has also uploaded the thematic videos of home safety produced by the Commission on Children on its social media platform in end-2022 to raise the public awareness on child protection.

     The DH has also been promoting injury prevention to the general public through various channels to safeguard the health of the community. In respect of children's safety at home, the DH published the Domestic Safety Handbook in 2019, highlighting some potential injury hazards in the domestic setting in Hong Kong and safety precaution measures. Safety recommendations on the use of common household equipment such as window frames are included. Besides, the Maternal and Child Health Centres (MCHCs) of the DH provide health promotion and disease prevention services for children from birth to five years old. To prevent accidental injury to children, the MCHCs disseminate relevant home safety information to parents through individual health counselling, public talk, health education resources, e-newsletters, website and pre-recorded telephone message.
Ends/Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Issued at HKT 11:05
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