Keep your kids safe this festive season

By Drum Digital
11 December 2015

By Nomzamo Ngcobo

The festive season is around the corner, a time when thousands of people will be visiting parks, beaches, malls and other busy places. And parents are being urged to keep a close eye on children to make sure that they are safe.

Operations Director at Missing Children South Africa, Nicky Rheeder says several children get lost at busy places during this time of the year. She advices that it is very important that parents or guardians familiarise themselves with the possible dangers in areas they plan to visit and educate their children about safety.

“One cannot avoid a potentially dangerous situation if you don’t know what to look out for. It’s important that parents teach their children safety tips to ensure they know what to do should they get lost. They should be taught what situations to avoid to ensure they don’t place themselves in danger,” says Rheeder.

Here are some safety tips:

  • Show children police officers, lifeguards, store cashiers and security personnel so they know who to approach for help. Also show them landmarks in the area you are in. If in a mall, show them the information desk that they can go to and wait if they can’t find you.
  • Children should be taught to never go anywhere alone and never to talk to, accept anything from or go anywhere with a stranger. And even if it’s someone they know, they should get your permission first. It’s also a great idea to have a family password. Teach your children to ask the person who says they were sent by you for the password.
  • Children should be informed about what to do should they be approached by a stranger or if they feel unsafe around someone known to them. They can run away, scream and get the attention of other people in the area. Be wary of new “friends” – people who are suddenly “friendly” to you or to your children.
  • Ensure that your children know your name, their name and surname as well as their address when they are old enough. They should be informed that these details are only to be given to authorities and lifeguards, for example, and not to strangers who approach them.
  • While on holiday, ensure that you know where the closest police station and hospital are.
  • Pay attention to what your children are wearing and keep a recent photograph of them, as this will help in case of an emergency.

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