Keeping children safe these holidays

2018-06-27 06:02

THE school holidays at the end of June might be brief but they offer a very handy opportunity to make sure children know how to be safe when they are not at school for an extended period of time.

“Personal safety simply must be part of your child’s education. If we can teach them how to be able to fend for themselves throughout the year, we don’t have to start from scratch when a long end-of-year holiday arrives,” says Ivan Govender, KwaZulu-Natal District Manager for Fidelity ADT Security.

“It starts at home. Your child must know to always keep all entrances and gates closed and locked, and that nobody is allowed to enter without permission from either parent. If you have a home security system installed, teach them how to activate and deactivate it and how and when to use other security devices like panic buttons.”

He added that it is a good idea to have a list of emergency contact numbers available so that your children may know who to contact if they need help. The telephone numbers for the local police station, your private security company, the emergency number for your neighbourhood watch, and possibly a trusted neighbour should definitely be on that list.

“If your child must leave the safety of your home for whatever reason, make sure they tell you where they are going and when they are expected to arrive. We recommend testing any routes with your children ahead of time to make sure they don’t inadvertently choose a road or area that is fraught with potential risks. Try and identity any ‘safe spaces’ (such as a trusted neighbour) along the route where your child could call for help in case they need it,” says Govender.

“Instead of starting these safety training sessions anew, it makes more sense to instil a sense of responsibility with your children that they follow throughout the year. As much as we would love to look after our children 24/7, there will come a time when they have to fend for themselves.

“We have to prepare and equip them. Safety must be a part of your child’s education,” he said.

Public spaces — such as shopping malls — are also an area for which your children should be prepared.

“Teach your children to memorise their name, surname, home address and contact details for one of their parents. He also recommends agreeing on a code word, which would be used in a situation where someone else needs to fetch them from home or from a place they had been visiting. “This code word would be a sign that the person collecting them has genuinely been sent by a parent and could be trusted” Govender said.

Finding fun ways to test that your children understand these safety tips and knowing how to look after themselves, he says, will be a productive way to prepare your children for the possible dangers they might encounter. - Supplied


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