Last year alone, there were over 109 children found wandering and lost along the beaches of Durban during this time; alongside this, there were also approximately 66 people rescued by lifeguards, and over 2 936 people who received first aid treatment for bluebottle stings and minor cuts. Our children are sadly the most vulnerable to these dangers.
Everyone knows the beauty of KwaZulu-Natal summer holidays. When we struggle to describe it in words, we just have to step outside into the gleaming sun, or make our way down to one of our many dazzling beaches, and that alone is enough to describe our unique summertime. It’s this beauty that attracts thousands of people every year during the holiday period, and yet at this time – as the beaches are packed and the malls are filled with countless people – here are some important ways to keep your children safe this summer.
So if you head down to the beach these holidays, keep an eye out for the municipality approved plastic ID bracelets being handed out – they’re a great way of making sure that no matter what happens, your children at least have your emergency contact details on them. Remember to always keep your children in your line of sight when on the beaches, and also try to sit near landmarks they can easily remember (such as the lifeguard station or the bathrooms). Also remember to teach them to always listen to the lifeguards – especially when the lifeguards blow their whistles or signal from the shore. However, if your child does find themselves in trouble whilst swimming, teach them to never panic, to try tread water, and to hold one or two arms up to indicate that they’re in of need help. As simple as these things sound, they can save your children’s lives!
There are also ways to keep your children safe at the shopping malls. Teach them that if they get lost to not panic but to go to the nearest person of authority for help (i.e. security guard or shop attendant). What’s good as well is teaching your children your phone number off-by-heart or even copying the “beach bracelet” idea and writing down emergency contact information on their clothes or on a bracelet on their wrist. One other way to keep them safe is to make a promise with your children that if you should get separated from each other, that neither you nor them will leave the shop until you find each other.
So while you’re enjoying your unique Kwazulu-Natal summer holiday, don’t forget these simple yet helpful ways of keeping your children safe over this festive season.
By: Michael Van Niekerk