By Linson Abah
Safety /ˈseɪfti/ noun
The condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury.
Years back, we used to think: “Oh! Africa is such a safe place.” That’s true. It used to be as safe as Eden until the serpent crept in. Or maybe the serpent had always been there in Eden all the while. You see, this is same with the insecurity situation in Africa. I think it stayed hidden far too long. So, let’s talk a bit.
If you’re here just for the 8 safety tips or in haste, you can scroll down. But, if you have a little time, read on.
As I was saying…
Insecurity has been here with us, in Africa, for as long as Mt. Kilimanjaro has been. Hidden. Or maybe not that hidden, but spoken very little of, because security issues became a normal part of every day life. But, fast forward to today, things have changed. There’s not a thing secretive about the insecurity in Africa. And everyone – including you – is talking about it.
How Safe Are Your Kids?
We’re talking about: how unsafe it is for our kids, cousins, nephews, nieces and little cuties to walk alone to school; how unsafe it is to leave our kids with strangers or family members and friends; how great the risk is to leave our kids alone at home; and how unsure we are of their safety at schools, in the bus, at the cinema and park, on the road, in our places of worship, and the internet – the social media, especially. This is why every mother is now familiar with the phrase Safety Education. Perhaps this is new to you, I’ll explain to you what this means.
All You Need To Know About Safety Education
Safety Education is the kind of education you give your kids on what to do and how to do it in a particular hazardous or risky situation. That’s simple, isn’t it? The good thing is, it is a preventive measure. You don’t need to wait for bad things to happen before you educate your kids on how to stay safe. Do it as early as you can.
What’s more, A safe child makes a happy parent.
With that said, here are the 8 safety tips you should teach your kids.
- Who should your kids call during an emergency? Your kids should know who to call when the house is fire, or maybe, when someone is trying to break into the house. Don’t just drop it on them like “call this number if there’s an emergency.” Give them reasons why they should.
Also, to kids, the word emergency may be too vague and generic, so you have to clearly point out to them what an emergency is, and why they should never try to handle emergencies on their own – especially without the supervision of an elderly person.
You would agree with me that the emergency response rate here in Africa still needs improvement. This is why, even as you give, at least, 3 specific numbers to your children to call, you must inform such persons too. Such persons should know that your kids can call their attention any time and any day.
- Who should your kids let into the house when you are not at home? You see, this is Africa, the place where your neighbor waits for you to leave home before he or she visits. And when you’re back home, it’s either your comestibles are gone or your most prized items have been borrowed out. And strangers do even worse.
Is this to say all the people out there are terrible? No. But, how does one get to know who is bad and who is not, in a volatile society like ours? Moreover, it’s not written on the forehead. This is why even as your kids learn to stay indoors, it’s also important you educate them on who to let in and not to let into the house.
- Consider having a code word. There have been reports of strangers showing up after school hours to abduct children. Not a good report , though. But as much as you teach your kids not to talk to strangers, you should also choose to have a code word – password. Chances are that, one day, you might want to use the help of a stranger.
How do your kids know that “this strange looking man” or “woman” was sent by you? This is why you should have talks like, “If anyone ever comes to you in my name ask him or her for the password,” with your kids. Such password must remain secretive and can be changed over time and with use.
- Which place is the best for kids to meet with friends and strangers? You’re not encouraging your kids to go on a blind date here. Neither are you telling them to go out with their friends. But you cannot live in denial of these things. They do happen and the results for some kids, especially girls, have been very unpleasant.
So, it would be wise to take the precautionary measure of educating them on where and where not to visit or meet with friends and strangers. Please be specific, call names. And as always, don’t forget to give reasons.
- How should your kids have conversation with strangers? Teach them not to give out sensitive information when approached by strangers. Be specific. If possible, list out the information you consider to be kept secret or possible questions that could trigger a reply with vital family or personal information.
This also should affect how they answer calls. Some callers can be very inquisitive, give your children an advantage over them. They should know they have the right to remain silent when asked certain questions. They shouldn’t give out your home address, without first verifying the identity of the caller. You can add to the list.
Every safe family has a secret. There are things that persons who are not family should not know. Especially if it has something to do with the safety of someone in the family or everyone. You kids should know this.
- What kind of places should kids avoid walking alone? Creepy or isolated roads are a NO! Other reason could be that hooligans have taken over the road. Or maybe, there have been reports of kidnappings on such road. Just make your kids know the safest routes in the place you live.
- What kind of information should they give on social media? There all kinds of people on social media; the bad and the good. Pedophile and scammers and thieves are there too. Teach your kids to always keep their location off social media, anybody could use it to track and harm them.
Sharing pictures of expensive possessions online could also draw undue attention.
- Have you ever considered buying your kids a tracking device? You can keep an eye on their location, all day, with zero worries on their whereabouts. And if they ever get into trouble or stay out too long, you can easily locate them. Good thing, the designs of these devices are really good. Some are in form of wrist watches. All your kids have to do is wear one, and it’s done. Your kids must know why they shouldn’t go out without their tracking device.
There you have it. If you want to be a happy parent, teach your kids to stay safe. And if you’re not yet a parent, hey! Start practicing with the nieces, cousins or even neighbours.
Do you have other safety measures for kids? Hit the comment box and help keep a child safe.