IT'S one of the most anticipated times of the year for many children — summer break. This time of year they get to indulge in exciting family activities, from travelling and beach activities to shopping and hours of uninterrupted TV time. Some also go off to camp, whether day camps or overnights, and this is also the season for sleepovers and vacations to the country.
Regardless of how or where summer holidays will be spent, the issue of personal safety should always be considered, especially having full knowledge of how adventurous some children can be.
To reduce the possibility of a time of fun and relaxation becoming just the opposite, we asked parents for some safety guidelines for young children for summer that have worked for them over the years.
There are so many things that we have to be on the lookout for as parents! I would say that, for example, when your kids get a phone, always make sure that you know where they are, even if you have to have a tracker installed on the phone. Time is more serious than being my child's best friend, so I would rather the child be angry with me than hear that something terrible has happened to my child. Also, take time out to get to know your children's friends as they will be spending time with them and you need to know as much as you can about them. And especially when you will not be the supervising parent or adult, you also want to have all the information about whoever that will be.
So many things happen in the summer, and one of the more common things is drowning. My kids are now in the country spending time with family and I tell them I have one rule: no open bodies of water at all for my children. I trust my family, but too many freak accidents happen, so no beach, river or pool until their dad or I can be there physically.
There are going to be kids everywhere and a lot of people will be on the lookout for distracted adults and wandering children. I say, especially when you are out with your children, don't take your eyes off them, because even a second is a very long time. Secondly, I know how hard it is especially for single moms because I am one, but avoid leaving children at home alone or even in the car because both places can be extremely dangerous. Another thing I would say is to make sure that your children are getting a lot of fluids. Last year my son got dehydrated after a two-day road trip (which I wasn't on). He was getting liquids, but just not enough with all the sun and the heat.
The holidays mean that your children will be out more and that means that they will spend much of their time being pedestrians. It is important that you teach your children about road safety and make sure that on your outings your children have your information in case they get separated from you. So teach it to them, but also write and make sure they have it always. But please do not give your child those pendants or bags with their names on it, because it is more likely that people with ill intentions will gain their trust because they may automatically believe the person knows the family. I also want to encourage other parents to establish a code system with their kids — I have seen where it works. With older kids, they simply send their parents the code if they are uncomfortable somewhere and the parent will automatically call, saying there is some change of plans and that they will have to be picked up.
In the summer in the hospital we see plenty of injuries, and it's because as parents sometimes we neglect to provide or do not ensure that our children are wearing the appropriate safety gear, so many times children end up with fractures. In the summer parents also want to ensure that children have access to emergency numbers in case they need urgent help; and, of course, one of the golden rules, especially when older siblings are playing the role of nanny, [is to] make sure all children know they should never open the door for strangers.