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Ensure the safety of your child, CAC warns

Friday, July 25, 2014    

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THE Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) has urged parents to ensure that basic safety measures are considered when preparing their children for back-to-school.

"It is important that parents and guardians take the time to teach the children, especially the very young ones, about ways in which they can avoid incidents that may place them in dangerous or harmful situations," communication specialist at the CAC, Dorothy Campbell, told JIS News.

She explained that "while it is the role of the CAC to advise parents how to get the best value for money, it is equally important that we remind them of the issue of safety of their child".

Campbell emphasised that it is crucial that the child be taught his or her full name and the parents' names. "Do not use pet names, as this may confuse the child; use the name that they are registered in at the school. Children remember songs, so you could make it into a song (or) teach it as a nursery rhyme that they will remember," she advised. Important too, is that children should know their full address and can easily identify landmarks to their homes and schools, she said.

"It is critical also that you have a specific person or persons pick up your child, and establish a pattern of calling to report any changes in the arrangements," Campbell urged, adding that parents should introduce these persons to the classroom teacher.

"If someone else other than this person is going to pick up your child, inform the child, the school's administrative office and his or her teacher," she said.

She also pointed out that emergency information should be written inside the child's bag and in certain books, including contact numbers, address and other critical details such as the child's allergies or special illness.

Campbell has recommended to parents the following basic safety tips as a guide toward a comprehensive safety plan:

* Teach the child safe routes, the road code, how to cross the street using the pedestrian crossing, how to walk carefully, not running across the road, facing oncoming traffic, and not to play in the road.

* Establish a time when your child should be at a particular destination. Call to ensure that he or she is there. Call on someone you trust to check on your child while you are away at work.

* Instruct them that if they see something suspicious on the playground to go to a teacher, an adult, or scream or shout to get some attention.

* Teach them not to take rides from strangers, even if they tell them that their parents sent them.

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