With the extended school holidays due to the country being declared a State of Disaster as a result of the Corona Virus (COVID-19), parents and caretakers are urged to have a plan in place for children who are at home during the school holidays.
In accordance with the pronouncement by the President on 15 March 2020, schools including Early Childhood Development Centres (crèches, day care centres for young children, playgroups, pre-schools or after school care) will be closed from today, 18 March 2020 which means children, whether it be tots or teens, will be at home while many parents will be at work during the day. Parents are urged to ensure their safety by leaving them in the care of a trustworthy adult.
Safety tips to help keep your children safe during the school holidays:
– Children have a right to truthful information about what is going on in the world, but adults also have a responsibility to keep them safe from distress. Use age-appropriate language, watch their reactions, and be sensitive to their level of anxiety.
– Educate and encourage your child on how to properly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and how to practise good hygiene.
– Get a trustworthy adult supervisor, always make sure there is an adult you trust who can supervise them. If it means you have to pay the person to look after them, do so. It’s better to pay and ensure your children are safe than to risk their safety.
– Never leave children unattended in the house assuming they are safe just because the house is locked.
– Do not leave your children under the supervision of other children. Parents sometimes make the mistake of entrusting other children to look after their children. This is not a good decision. It is always advisable and best to get an older, more responsible person to look after your children when you are not available.
– Do not allow them to wander off on their own, always make sure you are informed on their whereabouts. Even when it comes to playing, do not allow them to go play without adult supervision or to be in places where they can’t be seen by their carer.
– Ensure they keep the house locked, teach your children to keep the house locked always and to never open to anyone, especially strangers.
– Childproof your home, remove all dangerous substances and items that may be within reach.
– Do not leave the iron on the plug, even though the switch might be off. The child might accidentally switch it on.
– Do not leave candles or matches within reach as your children might want to experiment and end up burning themselves or even burning the house down. Also, keep medication out of reach of children. They might be curious and put themselves in danger.
– Remember to remove any choking hazards. Any object that can fit in a child’s mouth is too small for him or her to play with.
– Make sure your phone is on and your children can reach you Keep your phone fully charged and on in case your children need to contact you. If they have not memorised your cell and work number, it is important that you write the numbers down and put them in a place where they can see them. e.g. the refrigerator door. Also, remember to write down other emergency numbers in case they can’t get hold of you.
– Never leave your child alone in the car
Keep a close eye on your children at the mall Malls are usually busy during the holiday season. Do not allow your children to go to the mall alone and even when you are with them, keep a close eye on them.