Keep safe children in the holidays

2017-07-05 06:02

FOR children, the long mid-year school holiday is a welcome break, but for many parents, who have to work throughout, it is a stressful period of constantly wondering if their child is safe.

There are practical safety precautions parents can share with their children regardless of whether they are left with a caregiver, domestic helper or stay at home by themselves.

“It is important they know to always keep entry and exit doors locked, and that no one is to enter the home without the parent’s permission,” says Ivan Govender, district manager (KZN) for Fidelity ADT.

“If you have a home security system teach them how to activate and de-activate it and how and when to use other security devices like panic buttons.”

He said have a list of emergency contacts, including the numbers for the police, the neighbourhood watch, the security company and a trusted neighbour and explain to them when and how they must be used. These numbers should also be on the child’s cellphone.

The cold weather means that older children are often confined indoors and that boredom quickly sets in. The usual solution is wanting to visit a friend who lives in the neighbourhood.

If you are not able to drop your child off or arrange a lift for them, Govender suggests you walk the route with them before they have to do it on their own.

“Explain that it is better to take a longer route down familiar streets where there is more activity than taking short cuts across fields or through deserted areas or roads they’re not familiar with.

“On the day, they must call you to let you know that they are about to leave home and again once they have arrived at their friend’s house.

“If while walking they find themselves in an unfamiliar street, they should look out for a police or security officer and never talk to or take advice or a ride from a stranger.”

Shopping malls are far busier during the holidays and a popular hang-out for older children. If your child is going to a movie or to meet friends Govender says they must be encouraged to look after their belongings and to look out for each other.

“Busy malls present a prime opportunity for pickpockets. They need to hold tightly onto their handbag, wallet and cellphone. It is also important that if they become separated from their friends they go straight to the mall information desk or security and try to track them down from there.” - Supplied.

Have a list of emergency contacts, including the numbers for the police, the neighbourhood watch, the security company and a trusted neighbour and explain to your children when and how they must be used. These numbers should also be on the child’s cellphone

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