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How to keep our children safe over the holidays
23 November, 2022
The Christmas holidays are right around the corner, which means countless families will be out and about enjoying the warm weather. While it isn’t fun to think about, it’s important to make sure your children stay safe over the summer holidays – both on the street and in the water.
Whether you’re at the beach or in the pool, it’s essential that you keep some key safety tips in mind to protect your children.
- Consider their confidence: Ensure both you and your child are aware of their swimming abilities before entering the water. They don’t need to prove anything to anyone, especially if that means going beyond their comfort zone to impress an older or more skilled child – there is no denying that children can show off in groups. Having an open conversation can help you both avoid situations where they might try something they shouldn’t.
- Show support: If you find that your child lacks confidence after chatting to them about water safety, make sure you are as supportive and encouraging as possible. Work with them to find other ways they can enjoy the water, without pushing their limits.
- Do your research: Royal Life Saving Australia is a fantastic resource for all things water safety. Their website offers safety tips for different environments, be it the beach, a river or a backyard pools. Before letting your child swim, consult their archives for specific tips to help yourself and your child identify the different dangers and survival skills required for the conditions.
- Read the water: Especially at the beach. There will be a sign explaining the expected dangers, but there may still be surprises – you’ll have to do your own looking out. Check the weather and the wave conditions and remember that every beach can be different. Perhaps there is a beach nearby that’s more protected?
- Safety in numbers: It really does take a village. Even if you don’t plan to take your eyes off your children in the water, another set of eyes never hurts. Explaining your child’s swimming ability to the other adults in your group can also help them be on the lookout for signs of struggle. You can also encourage your children to be part of ‘the watch’ and keep an eye out for their buddies from the water’s edge.
Safety for pedestrians is essential all year ‘round, but the extended holidays mean Christmas is particularly busy for children.
- Buckle up: Children should be seated in a child car restraint or booster seat that is correct for their size/height, correctly installed into the vehicle and adjusted to fit them properly on every trip, no matter how long or short.
- Set a good example: Be sure to always use a designated school or pedestrian crossing to cross the road. Teach children to “Stop, Look, Listen and Think” before crossing the road and explain what this means.
- Bike safety: If your child enjoys using a wheeled device like a scooter or bike, ensure that they are using appropriate protection equipment such as helmets and wrist, elbow and knee guards and know how to safely cross the road.
- Treat the driveway like a road: Make sure you always Supervise, Separate and See. Actively supervise children when near driveways and ensure they are kept well away from moving vehicles. Remember that all vehicles have blind spots which can make it difficult to see a child when reversing, and that while reversing sensors and cameras can help to reduce blind spots, they should never be relied upon on their own to keep children safe.
- Keep them away from danger: Separate your children’s playspaces from the street, garage and driveway where possible. This can include fitting high handles to garage doors, installing fences to separate the house and garden from the driveway, and installing self-closing doors and gates.
Pool safety is also very important when keeping our children safe this summer. Here, we provide the ultimate breakdown of how and why to teach your children water safety.