KINGSTON, Aug. 20 (JIS): As the new school year approaches, the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is reminding parents of some basic safety measures that should be considered, in preparing children for back-to-school.
“While it is the role of the CAC to advise parents on how to get the best value for money, through proper planning and money management, it is equally important that we remind them of the important issue of the safety of their children,” Communications Specialist at the CAC, Dorothy Campbell, told
She said it is important that parents and guardians teach the children, especially the very young ones, about ways in which they can defend themselves and avoid incidence that may place them in dangerous or harmful situations.
Miss Campbell added that it is the parents’ responsibility to teach their children how to react and what actions to take during an incident.
“Parents should teach their children their addresses and telephone numbers. Teach them at home to dial family members…dial grandma and auntie at intervals,” she advised.
“Do not underestimate them at all…if you teach them safety tips, they will remember,” she emphasised.
Another point of consideration is how children should operate at school. The children must understand that they should not be left alone in a classroom and that they must walk in groups, not alone.
“Instruct them that if they see something suspicious on the playground to go to a teacher, an adult or scream or shout to get some attention,” the Communications Specialist said.
Important too, she continued, is that they learn “not to take rides from strangers, even if they tell them that you (the parent) sent them.”
Critical also, is that “parents should develop a good relationship with the child’s teacher, so that they will know exactly what you want them to do in case of an emergency,” Miss Campbell pointed out.
For the older children, “it is important for you to be present at the
Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) meetings,” she said.
“If you are not aware of what is happening with your child, or what is taking place at the school, you won’t be able to help them, and if the school is not aware of what is happening with you at home, they won’t be able to assist your child,” she added.
Miss Campbell recommended to parents the following basic safety tips as a guide towards a comprehensive safety plan:
• Teach your child his or her full names, that is, the parents’ names and the child’s own name. Do not use pet names, as this may confuse your child.
• Teach children the name of their street and full address.
• Take them on the route to and from school during the weekend. Point out important landmarks that are not likely to change.
• Have a specific person or persons pick up your child and establish a pattern of calling to report any changes in the arrangements. Introduce the person you know and trust to the classroom teacher. If someone else other than this person is going to pick up your child, inform the child, the school’s administrative office and his or her teacher.
• Write emergency information inside the child’s bag (not on the outside), and in certain books, including your contact numbers, address and any other important details, for example, the child’s allergies or special illness. Stitch it inside the bag if you can. Papers get lost but the bag should last for at least two semesters.
• Teach the child safe routes, the road code, how to cross the street using the pedestrian crossing, how to walk carefully, not running across the road, and facing oncoming traffic, and not to play in the road.
• Establish a time when your child should be at a particular destination. Call to ensure that he or she is there. Call on someone you trust to check on your child while you are away at work.