It has been proven that most children’s accidents occur during the summer holidays. At this time of year the schools are closed and this means children have more free time, often without supervision. It is also a period when people go on holiday near the sea or in the mountains.
For this reason we should teach our children, as early as possible, to recognize the dangers and how to protect themselves. Safety, however, does not mean overprotection. Overprotection often has an adverse effect.
Regardless of the destination, the holidays involve frequent movements. Children should always be seated at the back of the car and wear their seat belt. The car dealerships and car accessories stores can suggest a suitable seat or seat belt for each child, taking into account their height and weight, in order for them to travel safely.
Vacationing by the sea
• Learning how to swim can save lives. We should teach our children to swim properly from the youngest possible age.
• Never leave children near the water unattended, even if they know how to swim.
• Do not depend on inflatable objects, such as arm bands, babyfloats, etc. for the safety of our children.
• Children should never swim on a full stomach.
• It is dangerous to swim when the sea is rough and in places where there is a strong under current.
• When children engage in water sports and when they are on a boat they should always wear proper lifejackets and follow the safety rules.
• We should teach our children not to dive until they have made sure that the waters are deep enough and that there are no obstacles.
• The sun is very dangerous. Our children should always wear a hat, a white blouse and sunscreen. Avoid staying under the sun at midday.
• If the children fish, we should teach them the proper use of the equipment and how to recognize the poisonous fish. The older children who go scuba-diving or deep sea fishing should follow the safety rules closely, always be connected to the special buoy in order to be seen by the passing ships, and always be accompanied.
• If there are young children in a house with a pool, then the pool should be properly fenced off or have a safety cover.
Vacationing in the Mountains
• Suitable clothing:
a) for hiking : appropriate footwear and hat.
b) for cycling : safety helmet and proper shoes.
c) for rafting : proper lifejackets and helmets.
In general it is good that all mountain sports, such as climbing, free falling, etc., be done in organized groups under the supervision of experts. Safety rules should be strictly adhered to and appropriate equipment should be used.
• We should teach our children to recognize poisonous insects and reptiles of the area and how to avoid being bitten. They should avoid walking through tall grass, or else make a noise to frighten away the snakes that may be hiding there. They should not put their hands in cracks or under rocks, because snakes, scorpions or poisonous insects, may be hiding there.
• We should teach our children that usually animals become dangerous when they feel threatened, are sick or are protecting their young, their food, their home, or even their owner. As a rule, children should learn to respect all animals.
In the countryside children may come across animals that are not pets, such as sheepdogs, mules, donkeys, etc., who are not accustomed to people. In this case, children must be careful, so that accidents can be avoided.
• We must make sure that there are no rivers, wells, cisterns or other water storage units in the area. In case there are, we should explain to our children their danger and prevent them from playing near them.
• Children should stay away from matches, fire and oil lamps. When we believe they are mature and responsible enough, we can teach them how to use them properly.
• We should make sure that there are no poisonous plants in the area, such as mushrooms, and teach our children how to recognize them and to avoid touching them.
• We should be careful of summer storms. We should teach our children not to stand under trees or electric cables, and not to swim when there is lightning.
Wherever we are during the holidays, we should teach our children to avoid spoilt food, melted ice-cream and products which have expired. With the rising summer temperatures there is a high risk of poisoning. We should never put defrosted foods back into the freezer.
The above precautions are known to us all. Unfortunately, though, they are so simple, that they are often overlooked. We all believe it won’t happen to us, and we rest assured that all is well. As a result many accidents occur during the summer holidays.
We must not forget that young children should always be properly supervised.