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Kmart and Target are making safety changes to Australian stores after a series of injuries to children caused by clothes hangers.

The movement of both retail giants continues a series of articles Posted by nine.com.au that revealed the cases of several children who sustained serious eye injuries after falling on the hooks.

WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW

A Kmart Australia spokesperson said that after reviewing Cecilia’s accident, they looked at various options to improve the safety of the “clothes arm” hook, which is used throughout the industry.

A successful test was conducted at a few NSW Kmart stores earlier this year, and the company was now in the process of putting plastic covers on all of its garment arm hooks early next year, the spokesperson said.

A photo showing the plastic covers that will now be attached to all Kmart and Target clothespins.
A photo showing the plastic covers that will now be attached to the end of all Kmart and Target clothespins. (Supplied: Kmart Australia)

Target, which is owned by the same Wesfarmers company, will also introduce the same plastic covers for its clothes arm hooks across the country, the spokesperson said.

The launch will involve adding about 1.2 million caps to cover each clothes hanger at Kmart stores and 900,000 caps for Target stores.

Cecilia Chan photographed in the hospital hours after her injury.
Cecilia Chan photographed in the hospital hours after her injury. (Supplied: Jill Huang)

“Trials have shown that they significantly reduce the risk of injury or laceration if someone accidentally hits the arm of the clothing,” the spokesperson said.

“With millions of customers visiting our stores each year, the safety of our customers is a responsibility we take very seriously.”

Cecilia's injured eye still looked noticeably different 10 months after the accident, her mother said.
Cecilia’s injured eye still looked noticeably different 10 months after the accident, her mother said. (Supplied: Jill Huang)

Cecilia’s mother, Jill Huang, told nine.com.au that she was happy that Kmart and Target were making the changes.

“They are doing the right thing. What I want now is for no other child to be injured like Cecilia,” he said.

However, Ms. Huang said that she was still upset that the changes had not occurred soon enough to prevent her daughter’s traumatic injury.

“I think they should have done it years ago. When Cecilia got injured, I saw that there were previous cases. If they had made those changes earlier, Cecilia would not have been injured,” he said.

Ms. Huang said that her daughter’s injury had left the entire family devastated.

“It was very scary and Cecilia was in a lot of pain. It broke our hearts,” Ms. Huang said, adding that Cecilia’s grandmother had taken the accident especially hard, as she was with her daughter at the time.

Saad, 5, nearly lost the use of his eye after falling on a hook at Target's Parramatta store.
Saad, 5, nearly lost the use of his eye after falling on a hook at Target’s Parramatta store. (Supplied)

Cecilia had a second operation on her eye in June. His eyesight was not affected by the injury, but he was still being monitored, Ms. Huang said.

Ms. Huang said that although her daughter’s eye had recovered well, it still looked remarkably different from her other eye.

“He has a scar on his eyelid and sometimes one eye looks big and the other small,” he said.

Letters received by Ms Huang from NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian and Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said SafeWork NSW had attended the Kmart store in Chatswood after Cecilia’s accident and was communicated with them about the planned changes.

Contact reporter Emily McPherson at [email protected]


www.9news.com.au

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