As the school session commences in full swing, it is the responsibility of parents and teachers to take adequate precautions in order to protect their children. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says about 1.3 million children are being affected by insecurity in Nigeria. This issue of insecurity continues to surge in the country hence the need to keep children on the alert cannot be overemphasized.
The following safety precautions if well utilized will help children become more cautious of their environment, know necessary emergency contacts and altogether ensure a safer learning environment.
Names on uniforms: Names written on children’s school uniforms should not be conspicuous for any passerby to take a look and memorize. This will prevent an intruder from recognising or knowing students by their names.
Teach them about their bodies: Teachers and parents should make children understand how personal and sensitive their bodies are. They should be taught to be bold enough to prevent someone from touching them and to make reports when they feel molested by anybody.
Walk home in groups: If your wards walk home, teach them to avoid walking alone. Children should avoid lonely paths, they should not talk to strangers nor collect any gifts. Teach them not to use electronic gadgets such as phones on the road as they can serve as a means of distraction.
Arrangement for transportation: Care should be taken on who you hire to pick up and drop off your child. Do necessary background checks to be sure that they do not have any criminal records. Also, normalise documenting at least two to three guarantors for them. It is always best to pick up your children and drop them off by yourself if you have the time.
Ensure that kids know their name and house address: Children should have proper knowledge of their parent’s contact information, in case of emergency or any issue. They should be able to describe and say their house address and at least one of their parent’s phone numbers.
Never go anywhere with a stranger: Children should be taught not to accept lifts from strangers or even to accept any kind of gifts from people they do not know. This is one of the most common methods used in kidnapping children.
Don’t drop children at the school gate: Make sure you don’t just drop off your children and zoom off. Endeavour to take them inside the school compound. If you are not able to drop them off in the school compound, make sure you hand them over to their teachers or available staff before you drive off.
Communicate with the school authorities: Make sure that you have the number of your child’s teacher so as to be duly informed if there is any new development. It is also necessary to have the phone number of other important figures in the school like the security man.
Stay aware of your surroundings: Children should be taught to be conscious of their environment. They should be able to detect any unusual development such as someone stalling them. They also should be taught not to panic in unprecedented situations but rather to know how to raise an alarm or make a report.
Natural disasters: Children should be taught to react to natural disasters such as floods, whirlwinds, lightning and storm amongst others. For example, teach them to never walk in the rain and to avoid walking on gutters.
Food: Children tend to eat more often than adults. Make sure they have enough food and snacks to eat. This will prevent them from eating from other people. This simple could prevent children from food poisoning.
Therefore, parents and teachers should take adequate note of these measures and make sure to implement them in other to keep children protected and alert as they go about acquiring quality education.