School holidays are possibly the most exciting and eagerly anticipated few weeks of any child’s year, but, can simultaneously be the most stressful and dreaded weeks for a parent. So how can parents put their minds at ease when it comes to their children’s safety these holidays?
As schools close their gates for the holidays, parents become more anxious over the safety of their kids – especially those parents who are unable to take time off work or watch their kids 24/7. Teaching your children basic safety precautions as they grow older is a smart move for parents, as this ensures peace of mind and preparing your children for the world.
“Personal safety simply must be part of your child’s education,” says Theunis Kotze, ADT’s inland regional manager. “It starts at home. Your kids must know to always keep all entrances and gates closed and locked so that nobody can enter without permission from either parent. If you have a home security system installed, teach them how to activate and deactivate it, as well as how and when to use other security devices such as panic buttons.”
Children must know who they should contact in case of an emergency. It is a good idea to have a list of emergency contact numbers available and within easy access. When your children become old enough to care for themselves and stay home alone, they should be prepared to handle most situations that could arise. The phone numbers of your local police station, your private security company, the emergency number for your neighbourhood watch, and possibly the number of a trusted neighbour should definitely be on that list.
Young kids, and even pre-teens, should be under the supervision of a trustworthy adult during holiday breaks. For the safety of your children, they should always be under adult supervision, but knowing how to handle certain situations can benefit them.
“If your children 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,” says Kotze.
“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 to identity any ‘safe spaces’ (such as a trusted neighbour) along the route where your children could call for help if they need it.”
Many parents take their children out during the holidays; should they be separated from their parents, children should know what to do.
“Teach your children to memorise their name, surname, home address and the contact details of one of their parents. Also make sure they know that if they do become separated from you, they must immediately look for mall security and give them the information they have memorised,” Kotze adds.
Malls and public places are extremely busy during school holidays, and parents should be vigilant when taking their kids out, however kids should also be prepared in case they become separated from their parents.