Sue is a health promotion and injury prevention practitioner and is active in child injury prevention and safety promotion initiatives at state and national levels. She has extensive experience working in both government and non-government sectors.
Previous roles have included CEO of Kidsafe WA and, in a step outside injury prevention, Senior Engagement Officer, Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, Indigenous Affairs in remote WA.
Sue’s qualifications in education, health promotion and public health, including a Master of Public Health. Whilst passionate about all aspects of child injury prevention, she has a particular interest in child road safety, consumer product safety and playground safety.
Q: If you could wave a magic wand what would you change and where would you start in order to improve childhood injury?
A: My magic wand would start with changing attitudes to child injury. Child injury prevention is not about wrapping kids in cotton wool, it’s about make safer systems, environments and products to help prevent predictable, serious injuries while still enabling children to grow and develop normally. Our world is adult focussed but children experience and interact with that world in very different ways. No child should die or be seriously injured simply because they are learning about their world.
Q: Please tell us about a story that has had an impact on you and that has strengthened your resolve in childhood injury prevention.
A: There is no single story – it’s the children who have survived or not survived car crashes dependant on how they were restrained in the vehicle at the time; the children who have received terrible burns from hot tap water and who will carry the physical & emotional scars for the rest of their life; the children who have drowned or who suffer lifelong disability from a non-fatal drowning because of a short lapse in adult attention; the children who have been poisoned because medications and toxic substances have not been properly stored; the children who have been run-over in their own driveway, often by a parent.
Q: What practical solution(s) would you like to see/do you believe would see an immediate reduction in childhood injury?
A: Make inventors & manufacturers prove that their products are safe for children in every conceivable unintended usage before they get to market – we shouldn’t have to wait for deaths and injuries to occur before a product is investigated.
Q: Given your experience with childhood injury, what key message should parents/guardians need to be made aware of?
A: Children will get into everything and try just about everything – this is normal and they are learning. As a parent, you need to know where your kids are and what they are doing at all times without being a helicopter parent. Make the environment as safe as you can for them and help them learn and develop skills when they are developmentally ready to do so.