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News: Family Assistance app, safety in the home, saving for retirement

So, what’s making news in the world of pregnancy and parenting this week?

How is the Federal Government making things easier for busy parents? Which common beauty appliance is posing a danger to children? How can Aussie women save more for retirement? And are you putting your child at risk this Summer!

Hair straightener injuries on rise

The Office of Fair Trading in Queensland is urging parents to be vigilant when using hair straighteners.

Each week one child in Queensland suffers serious burns from a hair straightener.

The Office has warned parents that plates on hair straighteners can heat up to more than 200 degrees in under 10 minutes and can take more than 30 minutes to cool down to a safe temperature.

It’s during this time that accidents are occuring. There’s an increasing number of children injured after picking up, sitting on or standing on the hair straightener. Injuries are ranging from superficial burns to severe, full thickness burns. A child’s skin is much thinner than an adult´s so these types of burns can cause permanent scarring.

New App to make Family Assistance payments easier

The new Express Plus Families App is promising to make it easier and faster for parents to manage Family Tax Benefits, Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate, as well as the Paid Parental Leave scheme and Baby Bonus – without having to call or visit an office.

Minister for Human Services Senator Kim Carr said the app was a world leader.

“There are about 1.6 million parents accessing these benefits, designed to help out with the costs of childcare, school and raising children.

“Last year they called Centrelink six million times; spending about nine minutes talking to an officer each time. Most business dealt with on those calls will only  take a minute using this app.

“Ultimately, it’s about making parents’ lives a bit easier.”

The new Families Express app is available for free from the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad or at www.itunes.com/appstore. The Android version is available from Google Play.

Families must be registered for online services in order to access the app.

Aussie women shortchanging themselves in retirement

New figures from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) have shown that Aussie women in particular won’t have enough money in retirement.

The average balance at retirement for is $198,000 for men, and $112,000 for women – well below the recommended balance of $430,0003 to fund a comfortable retirement lifestyle.

But there are some simple measure to help you increase that amount now!

  • Cut back on one coffee each day (average of $116 per month, or $3.80 per day) from the age of 28, and take home a tidy $144,000 in extra super savings
  • Save $80 per month on clothes shopping from the age of 28, and boost your super by $99,000
  • Skip a couple of restaurant dinners every month from the age of 28 and it could add $87,000 to your super account
  • Give your body and super a health check at the age of 30 by cutting back on that pack of cigarettes, glass of wine and chocolate bar each week and you could add in excess of $180,000 to your final super balance.

The Super Guru Small Change, Big Savings Calculator on www.superguru.com.au can help you calculate how your small change can add up to big savings.

Parents urged to update first aid skills

Two thirds of Aussies could be putting their families at risk with outdated First Aid skills.

A recent poll by Red Cross College found that although two thirds of people said they knew what to do in an emergency, a worrying 50% would make the wrong First Aid choices in life-threatening situations.

As the weather heats up, the Red Cross is highlighting the need to refresh First Aid skills in preparation for a safe summer with family and friends.

“Outoor activities, hot weather and increased time in, or near, the water all contribute to higher accident rates over the summer period,” said Chris Casey, General Manager – Training Services from Red Cross College.

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