Child safety over the December holidays
As many of us begin our summer holidays, it is essential that we prioritise the safety of our children. Every precaution must be taken to protect them when enjoying beach days, family braais, hikes, movie days at home, shopping and camping trips.
Over the December holidays, there are often reported cases of missing children and child abandonment. Parents are, therefore, advised to take precautions over the break.
As parents and guardians, the duty falls upon you to teach children about their personal safety. Your child must be taught to always keep all entrances and gates closed and locked, and that nobody is allowed to enter without permission from either parent. If you have a home security system installed, teach them how to activate and deactivate it, and to use other security devices like panic buttons.
Your children should also have a list of emergency contact numbers saved on their cell phones and available at home near the telephone or on the fridge. These numbers should include the local police station, emergency medical service, the emergency number for your neighbourhood watch, a trusted neighbour, and your private security company.
Before visiting public spaces such as shopping malls, your children should know their vital information, including full names, home address and the contact details of one of their parents.
In addition, children should be taught about:
- Stranger danger and sharing sensitive information, particularly over social media;
- An evacuation plan in case there is an emergency at home;
- Cooking and using kitchen appliances safely; and
- To stay with groups when out with friends.
The Provincial Department of Social Development, under the leadership of Albert Fritz, remains committed to keeping children safe and protected particularly over the festive break.