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Plunket Summer Safety Media Kit

Plunket Summer Safety Media Kit

“Keeping summer fun and enjoyable for the whole family is as easy as taking some simple safety precautions,” says Sue Campbell, Plunket’s National Child Safety Advisor for Plunket.

This Plunket Summer Safety Media Kit offers practical information to parents and caregivers about a range of safety matters and good practical safety measures they can take. We have provided five media releases which can stand alone or be used together as a summer safety feature:

• Keeping things cool
• Have a safe journey!
• Fun in the sun
• Water safety
• Safety in the garden

“All children deserve the very best protection they can get and mums and dads deserve a relaxing break as well” says Sue. “When planning ahead for summer activities and fun, it is wise for the plan to include ways of protecting children from any unsafe or trying situations.

“Plunket has a vision of together the best start for every child. We see supporting parents and caregivers with practical information on keeping their children safe as a key part of that goal.”

Media release 1

Keeping things cool

Christmas is an extremely exciting time for young children. Sometimes too much of a good thing is hard to handle, especially for young children whose self control and coping mechanisms are just starting to develop.

Claire Rumble, Plunket’s National Parenting Education Advisor, suggests planning Christmas with your children’s needs in mind. “This way parents can make sure that children can enjoy themselves without becoming too tired and stressed,” says Claire.

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“It is really important to anticipate difficult situations and work out a strategy before hand for dealing with any issues if they happen. That will help to keep the situation under control if you already know how you want to react and deal with what’s happening”.

If your child is old enough to understand and cooperate, explain to them how you would like them to behave. Try to anticipate and avoid problems in advance. When this is not possible, try to stay calm and explain what you want, rather than focussing on what you don’t want them to do.

Claire suggests that parents and caregivers can help children behave well by planning their activities to make sure that young children:
• Stick to their normal routines as much as possible
• Get their normal needs for activity, food and rest met regularly
• Are not exposed to long periods of frustration, such as being confined in a car, or being expected to play alone while parents socialise
• Are kept interested and entertained with suitable activities

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, so remember to look after your own needs as well, so you are able to enjoy holiday time with friends and family. Where possible, you might share the supervision of young children with a designated child minder – other parents or responsible adults who understand children’s well being and safety requirements. It’s important that designated child minders agree to remain alcohol and drug free and to make the children at gatherings their sole focus so others can relax and recharge.

– ENDS –

Have a safe journey!

Plunket is encouraging all parents to take care when travelling by car these holidays, whether on long or short journeys. Summer is a great time for visiting friends and going on holidays, but safety is an important part of planning for any journey – and making sure your children are strapped in is essential.

Sue Campbell, Plunket’s National Child Safety Adviser, would like to remind parents to properly restrain their children in the car. “Not only is this a legal requirement, car seats save lives” says Sue.

A range of car seats are available for hire through Plunket’s Car Seat Rental Schemes. Available for short and long term hire, car seats can be hired in advance - the earlier you book the better, especially during the busy holiday period.

If you are going to have visitors over the holiday period, you can arrange for short term car seat rental if family or friends are going to be taking your children out in their car, or if you’re going to have extra children in your own car. Contact your local Plunket Car Seat Rental Scheme fitting advice or additional car seats or advice on fitting them safely. To find your nearest rental scheme, go to www.plunket.org.nz or look under Plunket in the phone book.

Sue also says that heat exhaustion is a real issue for children in hot summer months. “Parents should ensure that young children are protected from the sun by attaching shade panels to car windows, providing plenty of cool drinks and never leaving a child alone in a motor vehicle ” she said.

Fun in the sun

It doesn’t matter what age you are, summer is a great time for enjoying being outside and having fun. The strength of the summer sun does mean taking special care though, especially with young children who rely on you to keep them sun safe.

Sue Campbell, Plunket’s National Child Safety Advisor offers some sun safety reminders as we head into summer.

“We all love the summer weather but we need to remember to slip, slop, slap”, says Sue. “Slip on a shirt, slop on some SPF30+ sunscreen, and slap on a hat with a brim” and wrap on some sun glasses.

“Sunburn can cause painful burns, lead to long term skin damage and a higher risk of skin cancer later in life. People often don’t realise you can still get burnt on a cloudy day in New Zealand,” says Sue.

You can protect your child from sunburn by:
• Making sure young children always wear hats with wide brims or caps with flaps when they are outside.
• Keeping them protected with clothes that cover their arms, legs and bodies.
• Restricting the amount of time they spend playing in direct sunlight. The hours between 11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. are the most dangerous.
• Using sunscreen on exposed parts of the body. Talk to your pharmacist about the most suitable sunscreen for your child. Remember sunscreens do have an expiry date and most need to be reapplied after swimming.
• Keeping babies in the shade at all times as their young skin is very vulnerable and can burn quickly.
• Protecting children in prams and buggies. Keep their eyes shaded from the sun, their skin covered and use a sun shade on the buggy whenever possible

Children learn by watching your good example – seeing you wearing a hat outside and covering up with suitable clothing is the best way to help them develop good habits for a sun safe, fun safe life!

Water safety

As the days get longer and hotter, many families head down to the beach or pool to cool off. Young children love playing with water and this is the perfect time of year to let them burn off energy and have some good clean fun.

Sue Campbell, Plunket’s National Child Safety Advisor, reminds us that parents and caregivers need to keep a close eye on children when they’re near water and always stay within arms reach of your child - whether they are in the bath, in the garden, at the beach or by a swimming pool. If you are away from home or visiting, always be sure to check out each place for hazards.

“A child can drown in as little as four centimetres of water – which is not much smaller than the length of your little finger”, says Sue

Being aware of a few Safety Tips can help keep your child safe:

Swimming pools
• All swimming and spa pools must be securely fenced and comply with the Fencing of Swimming Pools act 1987.
• Teach your child water safety rules such as waiting until an adult can get in the water with them, and not to run near pools.
• Always stay with your child in and around the pool.
• Remember that flotation aids such as arm bands or water rings do not keep your child safe.

Beaches and other swimming holes
• Be aware of possible hidden dangers such as rips and deep holes. Always stay in the water with young children.
• Watch children carefully if they are paddling or playing at the waters edge.
• Young children in any sort of boat must always have a life jacket on and wear a harness.

Safety in the bath
• Children must have a responsible person with them at all times until they are at least five years of age.
• When bathing an infant keep a hand on them at all times
• At bath time, ignore any distractions, such as the phone ringing or the doorbell and never leave young children alone in the bath.
• If you have to leave the bathroom, take your child with you.

Around the house and garden
• Do not leave buckets or other large containers of water where a young child can reach them.
• Keep bathroom and laundry doors shut.
• Small children need to be supervised when playing in paddling pools. Always empty a paddling pool and turn it upside down to prevent water collection.
• Fish ponds, stock troughs, drinking ponds and other ornamental containers of water are a risk to children.

Being safe in the water doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun, you just the need to be aware of the dangers and remember - keep young children within arms reach around water!

Safety in the garden

With the onset of the warmer months and longer days, New Zealanders spend a lot more time outside in our gardens. Summer is a wonderful time to get involved with young children outdoors, and there are lots of new things to learn about and explore together.

Spending time with your children can encourage learning about new things, from plants to all sorts of insects. But you must remember an outside environment, just the same as an indoor one, requires some safety precautions to keep young ones safe.

“Little children are very vulnerable and very dependent on the good care and supervision of responsible and attentive adults,” says Sue Campbell, National Child Safety Advisor at Plunket. Sue has suggested the following safeguards:

• Stay with a toddler or young child while they explore outdoors.
• Teach your child never to put anything from the garden in their mouth. Some plants are poisonous and it is important to be familiar with those that are a danger.(a list of poisonous plants in New Zealand is available from Landcare Research). Dirt can also contain poisons.
• Remove dangerous plants from the garden. Spiky and thorny plants such as roses and cactuses, as well as Toi Toi bushes which have sharp ‘leaves’.
• Putting away gardening tools when you are finished with them helps keep children safe. It is a good idea, if children wish to garden with you, to buy them their own special sized, and child safe, garden tools.
• Many garden products are highly poisonous, including fertilisers and pesticides. They must be kept out of reach in a high lockable cupboard that can’t be reached by climbing.
• Keep liquids in their original container. NEVER store poisonous liquids in soft drink bottles.
• Do not leave buckets or other large containers of water where a young child can reach them. A child can drown in water as little as four centimetres deep – the length of your little finger.
• Young children are not safe in paddling pools unless they are supervised. Always empty a paddling pool after the children have finished playing in it.
• Turn anything that could collect water upside down to prevent water collection.
• Make sure the children’s play area is away the street or driveway and, if possible, fenced off from these dangers.
• If you suspect a poisoning or need poisons advice, contact the National Poisons Centre on 0800 POISON 0800 764 766. For poisons prevention information go to www.poisons.co.nz

With the right preparation the garden can be a safe, happy and educational place ready for summer.
– ENDS –

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