'Don't take your kid to the World Cup'
Sipho worries about the saftey of children at crowded public events and offers some advice.
If you are a soccer fan you’ve probably bought your Bafana Bafana jersey and miniature ones for your kids. You want to be part of history. Maybe you plan to take your child to experience an electrifying 90 minutes of being in a stadium full of thousands of cheering, vuvuzela blowing soccer fans?
But is it really safe to take your child to a crowded stadium?
I’ve seen parents take young children to public events such as music concerts, sport events, and even a presidential inauguration. Parents want their children to experience these special moments or perhaps they have no other choice? In my opinon, it's not wise. Young children should not be taken to major events such as the World Cup. There are just too many risks involved.
I think parents should consider these points before taking their children to watch a World Cup soccer tournament:
Who's watching your child?
Many people from different parts of the world will be attending the soccer tournaments and one can never know what type of person is sitting next to their child. This puts pressure on parents to keep an eye on their kids at all times instead of enjoying the game.
Is that fan sick?
Taking young children to crowded places also exposes them to the risk of catching disease from thousands of people, some of whom may sneeze or spit.
Potty time. Again
Children want to go to the bathroom regularly. If your child asks to go and use the bathroom during a match this can spoil your enjoyment of the game. Constantly making trips to the bathroom through a crowd of cheering fans may also be daunting and uncomfortable for the child.
Speak into my good ear
With thousands of fans blowing their vuvuzelas there is a high risk of ear damage to everyone attending, including your child. Some experts have warned that the vuvuzela can cause permanent hearing loss. Unless of course you invest in a good pair of ear muffs.
Hold my hand
Incase of an emergency it may also be difficult to negotiate through a crowd with a child.
If you are taking your child to a game, Reader's Digest suggests these safety tips to stay safe in crowded places:
1. Keep your hands in your pocket to protect yourself from germs which are prevalent in public places.
2. Keep a bottle of sanitizer ready. Use after visiting the bathroom and before eating.
3. Have earplugs to protect you from high levels of noise.
4. Know how to exit in case of an emergency. On your way in check for exit signs and memorise them.
5. Have an idea of the stadiums capacity. If you feel it’s over crowded, leave.
6. Find a meeting spot in and outside the stadium just incase you get separated.
7. In the case of a stampede move sideways out of the crowd until you get to a wall. Press yourself against the wall until the crowd reduces. You can also look for the nearest exit that you’ll have memorized.
8. Pack a lunch or only buy hot and properly cooked food at the venue.
9. Carry tissues.
10. Freeze water the night before to avoid buying overpriced bottled water sold at stadiums.
11. Dress in layers. If it gets too hot you can remove some clothes. If it gets cold you are covered.
12. Leave before the final whistle to avoid congestion of both people and traffic.
My advice? Whenever possible, let your kids enjoy the game, in front of the television in the safety of your home.
Will you be taking your kids to watch the soccer? Are you concerned for their saftey?