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Tips To Keep Children Safe This Holiday Season

MEDIA RELEASE


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 20 December 2012


Tips To Keep Children Safe This Holiday Season

We plan our Christmas presents, our food for Christmas Dinner, and our summer holiday. But what about planning to ensure our children are safe over the holidays?

Child Matters, New Zealand’s child abuse prevention specialists, want to remind parents and caregivers that at this time of year we must be extra vigilant and mindful of potential risks to children.

Amanda Meynell, Child Matters’ National Manager, Child Protection Education and Advisory Service says “Over holiday periods we often do activities that we don't normally do during the year, exposing our children to different situations that may have the potential to put them at risk.”

“Christmas and New Year can also be very social times, and children are often present. Think about how you’ll ensure they are kept safe over the holiday season.”

“It doesn’t mean wrapping your kids in cotton wool. It is simply about thinking ahead and putting safety plans in place for both yourself and your children.”

Mrs Meynell has outlined 8 simple tips to help ensure that your children have a positive and safe holiday season:
1. Make sure you have at least one safe non-drinking person, who will supervise your children.
2. Arrange a babysitter prior to the event.
3. If your child is having a sleep over at a friend’s home ask yourself how well you know this family. Have you actually met them? Make sure your child knows that if they feel worried or unsafe they can ring you and you will come and get them.
4. Before children go to any activities eg movies, swimming etc discuss personal safety skills with them. Make a firm plan and make sure they are clear about who will pick them up, where and when. What is their safety plan if they are worried about something?
5. If you are camping in any public camping ground you need to make sure you know where your children are at all times, particularly regarding toileting, showering, sleeping and social activities.
6. Set up some rules so you know where your children are. How regularly are they required to “check in” with you?
7. Take time to fully understand any electronic game your child might receive at Christmas as some games may look innocent and harmless but are actually violent and inappropriate for children. When hiring DVD’s check the age restriction. If older children are babysitting (remember the legal age is 14 years) what are the rules about any DVD’s they may watch while undertaking their babysitting duties?
8. Monitor daily what your children have accessed on the Internet.
For more information about child abuse prevention and detection see www.childmatters.org.nz.
--

www.childmatters.org.nz

About Child Matters:

• Child Matters is the only organisation in New Zealand solely focused on child abuse prevention.
• It works to prevent child abuse by 1) speaking up for New Zealand children; and 2) educating adults to identify child abuse and take the appropriate action.
• Child Matters is a catalyst in communities, working to connect organisations and build leaders who are making positive impacts on child abuse prevention.
• Child Matters is an independent charitable trust with a cross sector view and influence around child abuse in New Zealand. It has links to all organisations who work with children and enables them to tackle the issue of child abuse in their local communities.
• Every adult in New Zealand is affected in some way by child abuse and, therefore, Child Matters believes every adult has a role to play in protecting children. Its child abuse prevention educational programmes are a powerful solution.
• Child Matters believes child abuse prevention education must be made compulsory for all key organisations working with children.
• Child Matters works with a range of organisations to educate their staff to identify child abuse and take the appropriate action. It encourages organisations to adopt a child abuse prevention education and staff wellness programme to demonstrate they take child abuse prevention seriously.
• Child Matters operates nationally.
• For more information, visit: www.childmatters.org.nz

ENDS

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