Pupils learn about home safety

2015-09-22 06:00
Yumna Abrahams from Childsafe SA teaches Hillcrest Primary School pupils how to be safe to avoid life threatening accidents at home. 

Tiyese Jeranji

Yumna Abrahams from Childsafe SA teaches Hillcrest Primary School pupils how to be safe to avoid life threatening accidents at home. PHOTO: Tiyese Jeranji

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Grade 1 pupils from Hillcrest Primary School in Mowbray had a splendid yet educational day at the Red Cross Memorial Hospital Childsafe SA facility where they were taught about basic home safety.

More than 60 pupils from the school visited the facility to learn how to prevent injuries – mostly burns – that happen at home.

Last year the trauma unit attended to 1 677 cases of patients that suffered burn wounds.

The most common burn was from hot water – around 1 355 burns.

In an effort to help reduce that number and to ensure children are taught about this safety issue, Warrant Officer Derek van der Merwe from Mowbray Police Station organised a tour to the Childsafe SA facility at the hospital.

Most of the child victims that come to the hospital are injured at home and most of the injuries could have been avoided.

“I try to get children from my area to come and learn about their safety. I always make sure that they are taught about safety issues. This is the first visit of its kind that we organised this and we hope we will be doing more for the children as they need to learn more about basic home safety,” he says.

The children who visited the facilities first watched a movie on safety before they were taken to another wing whith a home set-up.

There they were taught about the dangers of playing with detergents, plugs, candles and stoves, and asked to pass the message to their parents to keep things that small children can reach away from them.

The programme facilitator Yumna Abrahams says prevention is better that cure.

“Having kids at these facilities is part of solving the problem before it happens. There are so many things that they learn here and should apply at home or tell their parents about, so that we don’t have a lot of children coming to the hospital because of accidents that happened at home,” says Abrahams.

“Our main focus today was on burns as this is the most common injury. Many a times a mother might be in a rush and leaves kettle cables hanging, or the handles of pots and pans in a position where a child can reach them and burn themselves.

“Our message is that parents should be extra careful in the house and ensure that children can’ reach anything that can hurt them in order to avoid burns or other accidents.”

Apart from burns, Abraham emphasised that detergents should be kept out of reach as well. The hospital received a number of children who got burnt because they were using a microwave to cook noodles, and even some who drank cleaning detergents.

“Parents must cook for their children and make sure that it is not too hot before giving it to them. Noodles are easy to make, so we find a lot of kids making them for themselves and ending up with burns.

“Detergents should be locked away or put on high shelves where they can’t be reached,”she says.

“We have also seen an increase in the number of children who come to the hospital after taking pills. We are pleading with parents and guardians to please lock away all medication. Children should not be able to get hold of it.

“Having children here helps us a lot as they go back and share the message at home, and we invite more people to come and learn so that we can reduce these accidents.”

Eleanor Hardy, a teacher at Hillcrest Primary school, says this is a good back-up of what they teach the kids.


For those who want to visit the Childsafe SA facilities can call 021 6855 208 to make a booking and learn more about child safety at home

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