Advice Column, Child, Parenting

Parents reminded to talk about safety and security with their kids

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  • Category Advice Column, Child, Parenting

The South African calendar is littered with events and days of commemoration with a safety or human rights theme – such as Human Rights Day, Freedom Day, Women’s Day, and the 16 Days of Activism Campaign to name but a few. Safety and security is a topic that deserves regular discussions and focus, and parents should keep this conversation going throughout the year.

This is the message from armed response company Fidelity ADT, speaking in the wake of Human Rights Day commemorations in March being cancelled because of the coronavirus and a decision by government to limit any public gatherings. 

“Security is one of the rights we would have commemorated in March, and it is perhaps more appropriate this year than ever before to think about it. As we bunker down for a lockdown period, we need to think again about how we can contribute to a society in which every one of us is free and secure. As adults, it is our responsibility to leave a better world behind for our children, and to think about it all year round,” says Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Fidelity ADT.

The extended period at home with your loved ones, says Hattingh, is the ideal opportunity to have conversations that are normally forgotten or to think about things we don’t normally even consider in the mad rush of our daily lives.

“Security and personal safety should be things we talk about, especially with our children. My advice for parents is to look for fun and educational ways to teach their kids about good personal safety habits while everyone is forced to stay at home,” says Hattingh.

“Use this opportunity to talk to your kids about what to do and what situations to avoid. Using art projects or colourful posters could be a great way of reinforcing basic lessons such as never walking to or from school on your own, avoiding unfamiliar streets, waiting for your parents or a caregiver at school and never getting into a vehicle with someone you don’t know. You can even have a fun contest to see who can design the best looking poster with all the important local emergency contact numbers, with the winning poster getting stuck on the fridge.”

This lockdown period can also be a valuable opportunity for the entire family to look at existing security and safety measures at home and to work together to fix any urgent faults.

“When last did everyone pay attention to the perimeter fences, and the trees and bushes that might be obscuring your outside infrared sensors? Is there anything lying around in the garden that could possibly be used to force open a window, and does everyone know exactly where the panic alarm buttons are located,” asks Hattingh.

Certain critical maintenance and repair services are still allowed to operate during the lockdown period, and they could be called to come and assist where required.

“Our wish is that people stay safe and secure during this difficult period and that they think of ways in which we can live better and more secure lives once the lockdown is lifted,” says Hattingh.

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