For children, the December holidays are a time for fun. Unfortunately, it’s also when most childhood accidents occur. Woolworths, in partnership with Childsafe, would like to remind parents and other caregivers of what they can do to keep kids safe while they’re enjoying all the activities summer offers.

According to Professor Sebastian van As, President of Childsafe and Head of the Trauma Unit at Red Cross Children’s Hospital, the unit attends to about 10 000 children a year. The majority of them are injured in falls, while motor vehicle accidents are the second biggest cause. Childsafe’s statistics reveal that the number of trauma cases seen at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trauma Unit climb at an alarming rate during November and reach a peak in December.

The main reason for the rise in falls? Because children spend more time playing outdoors, and are left unsupervised.

Motor vehicles are the next highest cause of childhood accidents – including both pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents – in summer. Pedestrian accidents are most likely to occur when children are left unsupervised. The rise in motor vehicle accidents is due in part to the increase in long-distance travel during the summer months, and the main cause of these accidents (70%) is speed.

Says Professor van As, “If you haven’t been touched by the tragedy of a child accident it is difficult to understand the turmoil associated with it. Yet when this happens, entire families are caught up in the loss with feelings of guilt and a sense of failure – all due to one careless incident.”

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Here are just a few essential tips for keeping children safe while travelling — both as passengers and pedestrians:

  1. Buckle up your child for every journey, even if the trip is really short. Kids up to the age of 5 should be in approved safety seats. Car safety seats reduce the risk of death of passengers by 71%* for infants and 54%* for toddlers. Holding your baby in your arms instead is extremely dangerous.
  2. Always ensure the car seat is secure and all harnesses are correctly fastened. Car seats for babies younger than 9 months should always face the rear end of your car.
  3. Never let children stand in cars or unrestrained on the back of bakkies. At just 25km/hour a small child can be killed in an emergency stop if his/her head hits the windscreen or pavement.
  4. Never drink and drive.
  5. Make sure your children are wearing light-coloured clothing and reflective strips when walking on streets in poor light conditions or fog. The same goes for their bicycles – make sure they have good, working lights.
  6. All younger children should always be accompanied by an adult or child older than 8. Teach older kids to always walk on the side of the road facing traffic.
  7. Children should always be supervised and only play in a fenced area with a self-latching gate — all latches should be out of reach of tiny hands.  Accidents often occur when kids run into the road to retrieve a ball.
  8. Check your car regularly — brakes, lights, shock absorbers, tyres etc. to reduce the risk of accidents.
  9. Don't underestimate the value of good old-fashioned advice. Teach kids from a young age to always look left, then right and left again when crossing a road.

For more ideas on how you can help prevent childhood accidents and keep your kids safe over the summer, visit www.childsafe.org.za  — and remember, you’re bigger; be the adult.

* source www.childsafe.org.za

For children, the December holidays are a time for fun. Unfortunately, it’s also when most childhood accidents occur. Woolworths, in partnership with Childsafe, would like to remind parents and other caregivers of what they can do to keep kids safe while they’re enjoying all the activities summer offers.