Five steps to keeping kids safe at home over the holidays

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School’s breaking up soon. Summer holidays are on the way. The kids are excited, but not all parents are – some have to work throughout the holiday. That can be stressful if you have to leave the children alone at home.

We all want to keep our children safe. Almost everyone views their home as their sanctuary. Here’s how to keep it that way.

1. Keep dangerous things away

From chemicals and guns to adult internet sites, make sure dangerous things are simply out of reach for your children. (Guns should be locked in gun safes.)

2. Be a maintenance nerd

Frayed electrical wires can cause fires, pool nets need to be in place. Often accidents happen when security measures we all know about have been forgotten, or left to another day.

3. Teach your children well

Show your children how to set the alarm, explain to them why they should not let strangers in, or even talk to them, tell them what steps to take in an emergency. Forewarned is forearmed.

If you allow your children to walk to a friend’s house, walk the route with them first. Get them to clock in when they leave and arrive, and impress on them why they need to stick to the route, and keep away from fields and deserted areas.

4. Children learn by example

They really do, so be a good example. Do all the things you ask them to do. Have a list of emergency numbers in a prominent place – for your and your children’s sake. Let them see you take a first aid course and keep and maintain a comprehensive first aid kit.

5. The numbers

  • From a cellphone, dial 112. Any cellphone provider will accept 112 when dialled, and the call taker will patch your call through to the local government emergency service and police
  • Do not use the 10111 police emergency number for fire or medical emergencies. This only delays the response. Call 10177 for fire and medical emergencies instead, although this number may be different depending on where you are in South Africa. Generally 10177 is accepted from any Telkom line and is toll-free across the country