According to 2016 stats from the NSRI, 600 children drown every year in South Africa. That’s 10 busses full of children! That’s shocking! What is even more shocking is that I haven’t taken the time to check out the National Sea Rescue Institute’s website before doing my research on this post today.
Drowning is the leading cause of death among children
Let that sink in for a just a moment. With Summer in full swing, and still a long way to go, this should be alarming for us moms. Although we are always on high alert to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our kids, Summer is definitely a time of year when the alert shifts way up into turbo gear. Even more so when we remember Jane Fraser’s story that shook us all last Summer and the thousands upon thousands stories likes this. It’s always important to continue talking to our children about the dangers of going near the pool unsupervised, or if possible, send them for swimming lessons during the year where they will no doubt also be taught these valuable lessons.
We personally couldn’t be happier with the Arena AWT Soft Armbands we got for the kids last Summer from Sportsman’s Warehouse. It’s possibly the best decision we made to give our then 3 year old, 4 year old and 6 year old more confidence in the pool. A year on and it still provides the little ones with the same comfort and security, whereas the older one now swims on her own.
However, it is always important to be extra careful, especially with smaller kids. Here’s a good place to start:
Make sure the pool is enclosed with a fence
Put your mind at ease by getting your kids a pkaboo Extra Wristband Pool safety Angel
Be prepared, and book a SafeKids first aid training class for you and others responsible for the safety of your children.
Hot vehicles are the primary non-crash, vehicle-related killer of children in the US.
And every Summer it happens in South Africa too, certainly more frequent than it ever should. A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s. Opening a Window and parking in the shade while you ‘quickly’ run into the shop is not sufficient safegaurds. Car windows act like a greenhouse: they let in sunlight and heat, trapping it inside the vehicle. It doesn’t take long for a child to suffer from a heat stroke. At a body temperature of 41.7°C, cell damage occurs in a child and internal organs shut down.
Here are a few other important things to be mindful of during the harsh South African Summer:
Always lock your car and if a child is missing, check the swimming-pool first, then the car, including the boot.
Make sure all kids have plenty of water even before they leave the house .
Lather kids in Sunscreen as often as possible during the day while out.
Dress them in lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Thirst, dry lips and tongue, lack of energy, and feeling overheated.
Painful cramps of the abdominal muscles, arms, or legs.
Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, weakness, muscle pain and sometimes unconsciousness.
A temperature of 40 degrees Celsius or higher and severe symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, seizures, disorientation or delirium, lack of sweating shortness of breath, unconsciousness, and coma.
Cape Town is ALWAYS chock a block with people from all walks of life when the holidays swing around, making it a scary time to be out and about with the kids. Kids will be kids and the likelihood of them running off for whatever reason is great.
I think it’s important for us as parents and childminders to make a conscious decision when taking our kids into large crowds such as amusement parks, malls, concerts, and beaches, to put away our cell phones and to never, for a second take our eyes off our little treasures (the kids, not the phones).
Either that or leave them home. However, parents get distracted and we don’t always have someone to watch our kids, so if you ever find yourself in a situation where you absolutely have to take your kids into large crowds, then here are a few ideas to keep those wandering ruckers as safe as we possibly can:
write your name and number on the inside of your child’s wrist or on their belly with a permanent marker, or use school clothing labels on the inside of their clothes. This way, should they get lost, the authorities or a good Samaritan will be able to call you immediately.
An alternative, or addition to this, would be to tuck a business card of the Hotel where you’re staying in your kids’ pockets.
Take a family pic before leaving the house or hotel room. This should be easy in the digital obsessed world we live in. Should it be necessary, you will have updated pictures of your kids.
Find ‘safe strangers’ by pointing out park officials, security, or even moms and dads with kids of their own as you make your way through the crowd with your kids. It will be useful and life-saving should you get separated from your child.
I didn’t think the wasp invasion of Cape Town a couple years back was a big deal until a screaming Jada limped into the house. She was stung by a wasp on her foot. Poor baby. Fortunately, the pain didn’t last too long and she wasn’t allergic or anything, but things could have turned out so much different had she been. However, many are, and some insects (flying and crawling) are poisonous, so how do we protect our inquisitive kids from getting into trouble while playing around the house or out walking in foresty areas?
Teach kids to always steer clear of beehives and other potentially dangerous insect’s territory or call pest control for removal
Wear light coloured clothes as bugs are attracted to darker colours
Opt for insect repellant or unscented products rather than perfumes or scented lotions.
Like sweet smells, insects also love sweet drinks, so look before you drink!
Although most stings and bites are harmless, if allergic or poisonous can be fatal if untreated. When in doubt call 0861 555 777
Sources: safekids.co.za / health24.com / health.usnews.com / www.healthline.com / allaboutfencing
Stay safe this Summer.