The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and ChildSafe SA are urging all adults, parents and caregivers to be extra vigilant and apply proper supervision over the young ones during this time.
The 21 days of national lockdown to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus poses an increased risk for children and is not the time for lax adult supervision.
With children of all ages now in confined spaces close to heat, water and chemicals in the home, they are vulnerable to a range of injuries such as burns, falls, poisons, suffocation, electrocution and even drowning.
Parents and caregivers have to be extra vigilant
“We usually see a rapid increase in burn injuries during school holidays, and with the extended period of lockdown there are additional concerns,” says Dr Gary Dos Passos, Head of Burns Unit at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.
Ensure that hot liquids are out of reach of children and that children are supervised around candles and fires.
Dr Cindy Stephen who heads up the Poison Information Centre adds: “We have already seen an increase in enquiries due to children ingesting hand sanitizers. Sanitizers may be harmful to children due to their high alcohol content. We need to remind caregivers to store all medications and household chemicals safely out of reach of children, especially at this time. Please always keep an eye on children when using cleaning materials and put medications away immediately after use.”
"Stay home and stay sober"
“We call on parents to be extra patient with their children during this time. We understand that people are stressed and anxious regarding COVID-19 and the potential impact on jobs and income, but this is the time to build on family relationships and not take out frustrations on children and spouses,” says Carla Brown, Head of Social Work Department at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.
“Alcohol and drug use severely impacts an adult’s ability to supervise and care for children. Please heed the call of President Ramaphosa and cabinet ministers: stay home and stay sober.”
In addition to the importance of adult supervision, ChildSafe recommends that parents and caregivers do a quick room by room inspection of the home to ensure that each room is safe from any risk of injury.
A few quick tips:
- Keep kettle cords out of reach.
- When cooking keep pan handles turned away out of reach.
- Store water safely.
- Supervise children around water at all times.
- Check for potential fall risks (e.g.bunk beds, out of windows and doors, down stairs, off beds).
- Poorly secured furniture (e.g. televisions and drawers)
Please report any Gender Based Violence or violence against children to 0800 428 428 or SAPS (10111) immediately.
Poison Information Centre: 0861 555 777
Compiled for Parent24 by Anneline Hlangani.
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