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Keeping children safe this summer

As the work year ends and the holidays begin, Plunket is offering parents and caregivers some practical tips for keeping safe this summer.

“All children deserve the best protection they can get, and mums and dads deserve a relaxing break,” says Plunket National Advisor Child Safety Sue Campbell. “When planning ahead for summer fun, include ways of protecting children from unsafe situations.”

A few minutes of gentle sunlight is good for growing children and helps them produce vitamin D. However their delicate skin is vulnerable to sunburn.

“Remember to slip, slop, slap,” says Sue.  “Slip on a shirt, slop on some SPF30+ sunscreen, slap on a hat with a brim and wrap on some sunglasses. Sunburn can cause painful burns, lead to long-term skin damage, and bring a higher risk of skin cancer later in life. You can still get burnt on a cloudy day in New Zealand.”

Young children love playing with water and this is the perfect time of year to let them burn off energy. “Parents and caregivers need to keep a close eye on children when they’re near water. Always stay within arm’s reach of your child - whether they are in the bath, in the garden, at the beach or by a swimming pool. If you are away from home or visiting, check each place for hazards.

“A child can drown in as little as four centimetres of water – almost the length of your little finger.”

Outside environments require some safety precautions to keep young ones safe. “Little children are very vulnerable and very dependent on the good care and supervision of responsible and attentive adults,” says Sue.

“Stay with a toddler or young child while they explore outdoors. Teach your child never to put anything from the garden in their mouth as some plants are poisonous. Many garden products are highly poisonous, including fertilisers and pesticides.”

Plunket is encouraging parents to take care when travelling by car these holidays, whether on long or short journeys. Safety is an important part of planning for any journey – and making sure your children are buckled into their car seat is essential. Remember that the metal parts on buckles can get very hot in the sun, and that heat exhaustion is a real issue for children in hot summer months.

On longer journeys, everyone will benefit from occasional breaks for comfort stops, to get some fresh air and move around. It’s a great idea to plan your journey to allow time for regular stops and activities so that the children, the driver and other passengers can have a break before they get too tired.

Plunket’s top tips for keeping safe over summer:

  • Keep out of the hot sun (10am-4pm)

  • Wear sun hats and sunscreen even if it’s cloudy

  • Attach shade panels to cars when travelling

  • Always stay with children when you’re in or around water

  • Make sure all swimming and spa pools are securely fenced

  • Remember to empty paddling pools and turn them upside down when not in use

  • Ensure that an adult is supervising children

Plunket provides a range of free parenting education and support programmes throughout the country. These provide practical support and guidance to help parents become more confident.

The current Raise A Bundle campaign is fundraising for the $4 million that Plunket needs each year to continue its work in the community. www.raiseabundle.org.nz

0 Comments Posted by Kate Kauri on 22 December 2016

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