Presented by www.solidrockfacilitymanagers.com
Safety and security tips for your children during the festive season
The holiday season is almost upon us and shopping centres are already buzzing with families rushing to buy Christmas gifts. Sadly, crime increases during this time of the year so it’s important to take the necessary steps to keep you and your family safe during shopping trips.
At Solid Rock, we have identified some tips for you and your family
1. If you have a real tree, make sure the tree stand is always filled with water so the tree doesn’t dry out and pose an increased fire hazard. If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it is made from fire-retardant material. Make sure the stand is flat on the ground, and decorate the tree to equally distribute weight.
2. Do not leave children alone in a room with lighted candles, matches, lighters, fireplaces or any other sources of flame or heat.Keep decorations out of reach of children and secured to the wall.
3. Use power strips with built-in circuit breakers. Avoid putting too many plugs into one electrical outlet. Keep cords out of the way or behind furniture, and insert electrical outlet covers into any unused outlets.
4. Closely supervise your child if he or she is helping you decorate, especially when handling lighting, ornaments and breakable objects.Purchase lights with the UL Listed mark which certifies that the product has been tested to meet safety requirements.
5. Make sure your children’s toys are age-appropriate and the batteries cannot be easily removed. Batteries shaped like disks, or button batteries, pose a choking risk to young children.
6. Avoid placing gifts under the tree that contain glass, perfume or cologne, poisonous substances or sharp materials.
7. Keep alcohol out of reach of children. Quickly clean up leftover drinks.
8. Dress your child properly for the weather, making sure that their hands, feet and heads are covered.Supervise children and make sure they wear the correct safety gear for sledding, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and other outdoor activities.
9. Discuss Boundaries
During the holidays, there are additional friends and family members around and some may want to hug your child, may want to play, tickle, and even have your child sit on their lap. Boundaries and respect are keys to empowering your kids to say no to unwanted touches.
Let your child and others know this is a decision your child can make based on THEIR comfort level. If your child (or any other child in your life) says “no” or “stop,” their decision (and their boundaries) should be respected.
10. Pay Attention to Signs of Abuse
Many times, adults have a feeling that something is not quite right between an adult and a child, but they disregard that feeling because the adult in question is a family member or trusted friend, someone they think could never harm their child. The truth is, 90% of children are sexually abused by someone they and the family knows well, and 70% by a family member. Additionally, abuse can happen at the hands of another child, so also be alert to relationships and activities between kids. Your child depends on you to keep them safe. If you have a gut feeling something is not right, ask questions, stop in, check back, and follow up. You owe it to your child to pay attention and take action if you feel or know something is not right.
11. Explain Secrets vs Surprises
Secrets are often the way abusers keep children silent (i.e. “This will be our little secret”). Explain to children that secrets are usually about something unsafe or bad and aren’t meant to be told to anyone, ever and surprises are for fun, good things and are meant to be told at the right time. Remind your child that if anyone, an adult, or another child ever asks them to keep a secret, they should tell you or a Safe Adult right away.
12. Limit One-on-One Situations
Alone-time between your child and another adult should be limited, if possible. And when needed, you should look for opportunities where that time is interruptible and observable. Let your child’s caregiver/babysitter know you may drop in unannounced and that you will follow up by asking your child lots of questions. The fact that 80% of sexual abuse occurs in one adult – one child situations means that if you eliminate or minimize these situations, you will have already provided better protection for your child.
13. Shopping centres are very busy at this time of year. If you take your children shopping, keep a close eye on them. Do not, under any circumstances, leave them in the vehicle. Put them in a trolley if they’re small enough, or hold their hand firmly in crowded places. Keep an eye on them at all times and don’t let them wander off. Teach your child who to go to in a shopping mall if they wander off and get lost i.e. a security guard in uniform, someone at the information desk, or a woman with children.
14. Safety on the road: Ensure children are buckled up with a safety belt and smaller children are in the appropriate car seats when travelling. Children under the age of 10 are not allowed to sit in the front seat, with or without a seat belt. There are many accidents on the roads during the busy festive time. Don’t drink and drive. Always plan in advance a designated sober driver. Avoid unnecessary trips with children on the road.
15. Emergency numbers: Communities need to familiarise themselves with Child Protection organisations so that know exactly where to report in case of any incidents. If your child goes missing, report it to the police. Give authorities as much information about your child as possible. Place emergency numbers of the police, ambulance, fire brigade and security company where it is visible at all times within your home.
16. Don’t give your home address to any strangers or people you do not know well.
At Solid Rock, we are behind your business success