Holiday Safety for your Children

“Police fear the summer holidays could prove a dangerous time for children, when crimes against or involving them usually increase.

Sharon Japhta of the province’s liquor and firearms bureau said unsupervised children on holiday spent their time on the streets and in shopping malls where they were vulnerable to predators and gangsters.” Michelle Jones – IOL

Reading this may make you want to lock your children up for the holidays and, personally, I don’t blame you! It is a scary world out there and all that you want to do is protect your children.

What specific things can we do as parents to protect our children during the holidays while still allowing them to have fun?

  1. Firstly, and most importantly, I think that it is essential that we learn to communicate with our children. Educate them about the dangers that exist, role-play what they must do in various situations and get to know them – know where they are going and who they are with.
  2. Secondly, I know we have all done it, but if we are going to allow our children to play in the street because it is not so busy then make sure that there is at least one adult watching them. If that adult is not you, yourself, make sure that you periodically check up on them.
  3. Thirdly, keep your children busy. Bored children are more likely to investigate new risky objects and areas. Allow them to get involved in Holiday activities and clubs that you have looked at yourself. You can also create your own holiday plan for them. Visit various places in your town/city should you not be going away. Remember, every year tourists visit your city – there must be something exciting about it!
  4. Teach your children to respect waterand be extra careful when there is water around. Recently, my nephew managed to get out of the house and landed up face first in the pool and almost drowned! Most children, if they do not drown they land up with brain damage. We were blessed because my nephews mother was quick to act and he was okay. A large percentage of child deaths are children who drown. Adult supervision near water is essential – it can only take two minutes for a child to drown. Take note of the following points:
    • A small child can drown in as little as 4cm of water, depending on age and health status of the child. Watch those nappy buckets and other buckets filled with water.
    • If holidaying by the seaside beware of lagoons – there are often strong currents which could carry a child out to sea.
    • Watch out for Lilos. A child could be swept beyond his depth and find himself in danger. Don’t think if your child is wearing a buoyancy aid or water wings, he’s safe. They still need supervision because they can easily tip over.
    • Always take note of safety notices and swim where there are lifesavers and between the marked flags.
    • Always supervise children near water. Even if they can swim they still need to be watched.
    • Swimming pools should be fully fenced with self-closing and self-latching gate. SABS specifications on pool fences are available.
    • Don’t prop the pool fence gate open. Many children have drowned in fenced pools because someone left the gate open.
    • Make sure there is nothing for your child to climb onto near the pool fence like pot plants, trees. Make sure your child does not have access to the pool from the house.
    • If you don’t want to make use of a fence install a pool safety net. Theses should always be kept on when the pool is not in use and once taken off, children should be supervised. Always use pool nets according to instructions.

These are just a few things that you can do as a parent. I think that the most important thing that you can do is communicate with your child and make sure that they can always get in contact with you.

Happy (safe) Holidays!

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