Are you a careless parent?
Sometimes parents don't realise the danger they're putting their kids in.

Most parents want the best for their children and will work hard to make sure their progeny have the best of everything.  But, with time, knowingly or unknowingly, parents may get careless in the care of their children.

I’ve watched with disbelief during the early morning rush hour as primary school children are left to cross busy roads alone. I’ve held my breath many a time as a lone child dangerously crosses a busy street risking instant death. Most of the kids I see are not trained to cross the road. Where are the parents? I always wonder.

I’ve witnessed parents who allow their child to stand at the back of a moving open truck, holding on to the rails- for the child’s thrill. And then some parents drive while a child is sitting or standing on the front seat. Some will allow their little ones to stick their heads out of the window of a moving vehicle. What these parents don’t realise is that in case of an emergency, a sudden stop, or an accident, the child, not strapped to a seatbelt, risks serious injury or even death. This is careless parenting. Children should be buckled at the back seat. The back of a moving open bakkie is not a place for a child to be.

Some road safety expects claim that that wearing a seat-belt reduces the risk of death among front-seat passengers by 40%–65%  and 25%–75% for rear-seat passengers.

Some parents let young children travel alone to and from school in minibus taxi. In recent years there has been a criminal element that has infiltrated the minibus taxi industry in the area where I live. A child, travelling alone, is not safe. Reports of minors being molested in these vehicles have surfaced. For their safety young children should never travel unaccompanied by an adult.

It is common for parents to allow their children to ride bicycles without wearing helmets. If a child cycles to school or for leisure a helmet is a must for protection against head injuries that may come as result of an accident or a fall. Children who cycle to school should be well trained on basic road rules and must use bicycle lanes.

I’ll never forget my visit to a local hospital’s ward for young burn victims. It was unbearable to see the pain and anguish on the children’s faces. Careful parents will plan ahead to prevent such unfortunate incidents from occurring. For example, the geyser water temperature should be set at about 40 C. Parents should never hold a baby while cooking. Babies should be kept out of the kitchen and cooking food should never be left unattended.

Children can pull tablecloths and get burnt in the process. All tablecloths should be out of reach of young kids. When cooking on a stove use the back plates and turn pot handles away from a child’s grasp. Little children should not be left unattended in the bathroom.

Another mistake parents make is the employing of unqualified nannies. One would expect responsible parents to engage someone who is old enough to be a parent. Surprisingly, some parents are comfortable to leave their young children in the care of teenage nannies who know zero about child care. The idea being to pay the young nanny as little as possible- valuing money more than the proper care of their child. When parents leave a child with a nanny they are in effect delegating their parenting role. Unqualified nannies place the child’s safety and welfare into jeopardy. Whenever possible a background check should be done  before employing someone to take care of a child.

Caring parents should use their imagination to answer the question “What could go wrong?” and take precautions. Your child is the most precious thing in your life. Treat him or her with great care.

Do you have any safety tips for parents?

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24. 

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