SAFETY ISSUES FOR CHILDREN
Safety is the state of being safe by keeping oneself and others away from any danger or harm. It also means being careful with what one is doing and to avoid any accidents. Safety is about being attentive to avoid or reduce risk.
Despite being careful, sometimes unexpected safety issues and hazards do happen. While we all hope everything to be perfect, there are things beyond our reach and control, and accidents do happen. Now, what one should do is, hope to have a very safe environment, but then be prepared to face the unknown, if one should occur.
All of us in general should be trained to tackle difficult and unexpected situations, but in my opinion, children should be trained the most, because they might not know how to encounter any unfavourable situations and might not know how to react in those situations.
GENERAL SAFETY ISSUES CHILDREN MIGHT ENCOUNTER
Childhood is the best phase of life as that is the period when one is tension free. The child just enjoys every moment of his/her life without even bothering about the result. They have no worries or panic any adult may have. But, these days, are we letting children enjoy their childhood without any worries?? I would say, a big NO. We are always worried about safety, and thus end up restricting their activities throughout the day, which in turn is robbing their precious childhood from them. Most of the dangers that lurk around our children are created by “US – the elders”.
Children are prone to danger almost everywhere; our own kitchen, playground, park, on the road, malls, stairs, lifts…..and the list goes on.
So, now after understanding the dangers, we being adults, it is our responsibility to safeguard them, provide them proper guidelines on how to keep themselves away from dangers, how to sense dangers, and how to overcome dangers. Remember, all these while still enjoying their blessed childhood, and not at the cost of it.
Ask any grownups about their best memories in life, their unanimous answer would be “when I was a child,” “during my childhood…” “those days were bliss….,” and so on. While this is the case, we have the responsibility to ensure that the future generations create similar memories and not a stolen childhood.
SOME OF THE MAJOR SAFETY CONCERNS:
As already mentioned, children encounter danger almost everywhere. While few of them can be encountered with just a little guidance, few might need adult supervision, and to tackle certain dangers, the children need to be trained to have a great understanding.
Few of the most common safety concerns are:
Burns and wounds.
Sharp objects injury.
Road and transportation hazards.
Slip and fall injury.
Danger from strangers.
Dog or snake bite.
Accidental ingestion of toxic products.
While most of these are day-to-day challenges and hazards and may sound simple and harmless, if not tackled at the right time, may turn fatal and regrettable later.
Research says "panic kills more than poison." Keeping this in mind, any issue needs to be handled in a trained way, so that the repercussions are controlled.
HOW TO HANDLE SAFETY ISSUES?
Burns and wounds: First-degree burn can be treated by holding burned skin under cool running water. Cover with sterile, non-adhesive bandage, and apply a petroleum-based ointment two to three times a day. However, for severe burns, do the first aid at home and take the wounded to the hospital emergency room.
Drowning: After pulling out the person from water, check for pulse, if there is no pulse, CPR needs to be performed by a trained person.
Sharp Objects Injury: Wash around the cut or injury with soap, remove dirt and debris from the wound, apply direct pressure on the bleeding wound, and treat with antibiotic ointment.
Road and transportation hazards: Teach your kids road safety measures such as following traffic rules, wearing helmets while riding bicycles, car seat belt safety, school bus safety measures, etc.
Slip and fall injury: Generally, slip and fall injury can be avoided by keeping the floor clear of toys and things, not having a wet and slippery floor and stairs, but should one such injury occur, we need to check for external wound, concussion, internal bleeding, if the person has lost consciousness, if the person has vomiting, and if the person is breathing fine. We need to provide the possible first aid at home, and then take them to the emergency room if need be.
Backpack injury: I'm sure all of us agree we end up having back pain due to carrying heavy loads of books to school while we were young and also lunch bag and laptop in our backpack while we are working. If being cautious, we certainly can avoid this injury. We need to always use both shoulder straps of the backpack with the straps tightened to keep the load closer to the back.
Danger from strangers: Children need to be trained by parents regarding the danger they might encounter while talking to strangers in the absence of elders around the child. They need to be educated not to take anything from strangers however tempting it might be.
Fire Accident: The first and foremost thing to do is to stay calm. Use the nearest safe stairs and proceed to the nearest exit, and assemble in the allotted emergency evacuation area.
Dog or snake bite: We never can be too unprepared with such a safety concern. We do read in the newspaper about stray dog bites every now and then, and we do understand usually it is panic that lets us get bitten by a dog. We need to teach our kids not to panic or rush in such situations. They can handle this situation by telling the dog to go away in a commanding voice and to stay still until the dog leaves. If in case, anyone gets bitten by a dog, one needs to press on the wound gently to bleed and flush out any bacteria, wash the wound, apply antibiotic cream, and wrap the wound in a sterile bandage. Snake bites can be handled by making the person lie down with wound below the heart. The person bitten should remain as calm as possible and be still to not let the venom to spread, cover the wound with loose, sterile bandage, and take the person to the hospital for anti-venom injection.
Accidental ingestion of toxic products: If there are serious signs or symptoms of nausea, vomiting, pain, troubled breathing, seizure, confusion, or abnormal skin colour, the person needs to be taken to the hospital emergency room for poison control and flushing out the contents from the abdomen.
Child Abuse: One of the major issues that a child may encounter and the parents are worried about is child abuse from known and unknown sources. While we are sure that all the kids cannot be taught karate and kickboxing, we still can teach our children certain measures to protect oneself if at all they are in one such situation. The child can scream at the top of their voice, bite the intruder, try to wriggle out of their grip, or even kick the intruder's private parts to get away from them. Once the grip is loose, they should run as fast as they can until they find a person or a place they feel safe with. We should encourage the children to talk to the parents with open mindedness and not to feel unsafe to share any happenings to them.
To sum up, a safe child is a happy child, and keeping the child safe is what makes the parents happy and content. While most of the safety measures can be taught at home and teach the children to tackle any untoward incidents, there are many dangers which need more than few teachings, but proper training to raise the awareness of the children and making them confident that they can handle any issues, concerns, or dangers, will take them a long way in their happy life.
We, at Infimind Educare Foundation run a Safety Program for School Children, which has benefited many schools and children already by making them safer than they were.
KEEP CHILDREN SAFE AND HAPPY!!