The risk of accidents occurring rises considerably during holiday periods. Holiday times are happy times but be aware of the hazards that can be found in mountains, at the sea, holiday resorts or wherever you are going to spend your holiday. When you are unfamiliar with your surroundings these holidays, it is important to look out for hazards and prevent unnecessary injuries to children.
Draw these safety tips to the attention of your family/ friends and neighbours and let’s keep this holiday accident and tragedy free. Remember: Bored children are more likely to investigate new “risky” objects and areas!
• Vacation time is travel time. Before you set out on your vacation always have your vehicle serviced (including your caravan or trailer). Check all the tyres (including the spare), brakes, shock absorbers, lights, steering etc. Always travel with emergency equipment. E.g. basic tools, jack, spare fan belt, first aid kit and fire extinguisher.
• It is important to plan your route before hand.
• Always allow time to stop and visit interesting places for rest stops every couple of hours.
• Make sure you always buckle up all your children and yourself, for short as well as long distances.
• Always buckle children up in SABS approved child restraints systems or seatbelts when travelling in motor vehicles. No children over the age of three are aloud to travel unrestrained in a car. There are different child car restraints available for different age groups.
• Lock all doors of the car. Use the child lock for babies and toddlers.
• Stop frequently so that children can stretch their legs. Take them out of their seats for a while.
• Sometimes older children want to climb out of their safety seats. Stop the car at a safe place and explain to the child that you will not resume the trip until he/she buckles up again.
• If you stop along the road always keep an eye on children. They can be impulsive because of new surroundings.
• A large percentage of child deaths are due to child drowning. Adult supervision near water is essential – it can take two minutes for a child to drown.
• If holidaying at the seaside beware of lagoons – there are often strong currents, which could carry a child out to sea.
• A child could be swept beyond his depth and find himself in danger. Do not think if your child is wearing a buoyancy aid or water wings he is safe. They still need supervision because they can easily tip over.
• Always take note of safety notices. Swim where there are lifesavers and between the marked flags.
• Always supervise children especially the young near water. Even if they can swim they still need to be watched.
• Swimming pools should be fully fenced with self-closing and self-latching gate. SABS specifications on pool fences are available.
• Don’t prop the pool fence gate open. Many children have drowned in fenced pools because someone left the gate open.
• Make sure there is nothing for your child to climb onto near the pool fence i.e. pot plants, trees. Make sure your child does not have access to the pool from the house.
• If you don’t want to make use of a fence install a pool safety net. Theses should always be kept on when the pool is not in use and once taken off children should be supervised. Always use pool nets according to instructions.
• Never rely on flotation devices to protect your child.
Hiking and camping.
• Make sure you are properly equipped with sufficient food, clothing and first aid supplies.
• Stick to well marked routes and routes that you know.
• Make sure that someone knows where you are going and what route you are taking.
• Beware of poisonous plants- children should never pick fruit or berries from plants they don't recognise.
• Take care; folding camp tables are easily knocked over.
• Only make braai fires in safe places.
• Never pour flammable liquid onto fires.
• Braai fires should be put out with water not sand. Keep matches out of reach of children.
• Carefully label containers with poisonous substances. Keep all poisons out of reach of children.
• Teach children what to do when they get lost in the mountains.
• Always keep an eye on your children.
• Beware of other children camping near you - be especially careful when driving in caravan parks.
• Never leave children alone in tents, cars and caravans.
Sunburn to children can be a problem throughout the year but especially in summer months.
• Parents and caregivers should protect children from the sun.
• Very young children should be kept out of the sun as their extremely sensitive skin can burn easily.
• Try and keep children out of the sun between danger hours: ± 11h00am - ±15h00pm.
• All children especially under six years should use clothing and hats to protect them against sunburn.
• Everyone should use sun block on body parts exposed to the sun, for example hands, arms; feet and face (choose a sun block that is water resistant).
• Remember sunburn also occurs when it is cloudy and children need protection under these conditions.