Parents learn about family safety

Parents at Savannah Primary School received lessons in keeping their children safe at a presentation given by the National Parenting Programme on Monday.

During the evening, various presenters offered the audience tips on different aspects of family safety.

Police Constable Ian Lavine, of the Community Policing Department, offered a spirited talk on keeping children safe inside and outside the home.

He emphasised that parents must remain vigilant.

‘It doesn’t matter what you tell your children not to do – they will mirror you. If you don’t want your child to do negative things, stop doing negative things at home. Protecting our children is going to start in the home,’ Mr. Lavine said.

Parents also have to be aware of outside influences, he added.

‘Protect your children from gangs by knowing where they are going at all times and who they are going with. It is very critical that you also get to know the other parents.

‘I want you to think about the future of your children and think about the future of your family,’ he said.

Elizabeth Stewart of the Cayman Islands Red Cross gave a first aid demonstration targeted at helping children. She described how to assess an emergency situation and the preliminary steps that can be taken on the scene before help arrives, including checking that the child’s airway is clear and that he or she is breathing.

The parents were also reminded of the three Cs – check the scene, call for help and care for the victim.

Curtis Powell of the Cayman Islands Fire Services Department spoke about fire safety in the home.

In addition to maintaining a smoke detector/alarm and fire extinguisher in the home, each family should have an evacuation plan which has at least two ways of getting out of the house.

Mr. Powell pointed out that many homes still have their windows boarded for hurricane season and explained that at least one window should not be shuttered in case of a fire.

‘Do not re-enter a burning building for any reason. Money and passports can be replaced but your life cannot be replaced,’ he added.

Flammable liquids should be safely stored, cracked or frayed electrical cords should be replaced and people should not smoke in bed, Mr. Powell said.

He also stressed that children should be kept away from matches and other flammable items.

‘Parents, I urge you to teach your children at an early age about the dangers of playing with fire,’ Mr. Powell said.

Leanora Wynter, social work supervisor at the Bodden Town district office of the Department of Children and Family Services, discussed parental supervision in the home and community.

She noted that many children have televisions, computers and cell phones in their bedrooms, but the use of these items is not always properly supervised.

‘I’m not saying our children shouldn’t have access to these things, but should it be unlimited?’ she said.

Ms Wynter stressed that parents should remain watchful in the home.

‘The assumption is that if the child is in the home, he is safe,’ she said.

Ms Wynter believes that parents should check their children’s school bags and bedrooms from time to time, citing a case where police found ganja in a 12-year-old boy’s bedroom, but the mother had no idea of the situation.

‘I don’t understand why parents allow children to have locks on their doors because if you are a parent you should have free access to every room in the house,’ she said.

Parents should also monitor what their children are wearing, adding that girls might carry an inappropriate change of clothes in their school bags, Ms Wynter said.

In addition, parents should know who will be watching their children at a sleepover, and whether the outside activity they attend is appropriate and transport is arranged there and back. She also encourages parents to give their children a curfew if they go out.

‘The lack of parental supervision can lead to a number of things, including child abuse and neglect. You need to set boundaries for your children,’ Ms Wynter said.

Parenting – PC Lavine

Parenting – Leanora Wynter

Leanora Wynter of the Department of Children and Family Services explains the importance of parental supervision.

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