Happy Holidays friends! This is the final post for 2016!
I am launching 2 membership sites in January so need to spend the rest of 2016 perfecting things! The first one is the HSEWise Academy for safety lovers and professionals which we are starting with the Safety Newbie 12-week course. The second is a School Safety Portal a Hub we will gradually fill with policies, templates, guides, resources and courses specifically aimed at schools to help them achieve and maintain a safe learning/working environment. We will introduce them properly once they are ready to launch.
Many kids spend the most productive part of the day in school but now they will more often than not be spending it at home and will now be faced with more risks. Their being away has made parents kind of relaxed, not having to worry so much about kids safety. This is bad in a way because we have now gotten accustomed to some bad habits which we must now unlearn to enable us relearn those habits that always kept us safe.
To end 2016, I decided to publish a post sharing HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS we all can make use of to keep ourselves and families safe. I wrote this because during holidays, children are usually home more and the risks of injury is usually higher.
1. Event Safety
This Christmas period as with other holiday periods, there will be lots of events schools and parents will take their children to and if crowded, one major risk is Stampede. This usually happens when people are impatient. If going to events, you should be watchful and patient. If there is an emergency, listen to instructions from the event managers or appointed persons that are trained to deal with emergencies in their venues.
Make sure you know where the emergency exits are and that they are free from obstruction as many tend to be used as storage. If blocked, speak to the event organisers or manager about it and see that they have attended to it immediately.
Be watchful and alert – if you notice any weird behaviour or acts, and you feel uneasy about it, listen to your instincts and leave the place as soon as you can.
Teach this tips to your children and make sure you have some practice sessions with them.
2. Food Safety
Holiday is a time when people eat out more or cook in large quantities to save them having to do it every day. Many people are guilty of cooking a lot of food in advance and reheating a million times (in Nigeria most especially) because they don’t want to have to do the cooking every day. Re-heating is over done because with our current light situation, it is nearly impossible to preserve food properly.
Now that children are home this practice will become more evident. Why cook everyday or every other day when you can cook for the week? In countries where electricity is stable, this is OK. After all you can freeze, defrost and heat up when needed. But in Nigeria with the constant power failure we are left with reheating food over and over again until it is finished. Right?
Well this is wrong. Food should be reheated only once so ideally cook food that can be finished within a day. Why you should reheat only once is because microorganisms in food thrive on heat. They need just the right temperature to grow. When you freeze food the bacteria spores become inactive. The minute you start to defrost and reheat they become active again.
When food is poorly prepared or exposed to too much reheating, there is risk of food poisoning since the bacteria multiplies and produces toxins that can cause vomiting and diarrhea. If care is not taken it can result in death.
My advice is for you to cook just the right quantity and eat immediately you reheat. Read this post I wrote a while back on food storage and reheating.
3. Security & Stranger Safety
You will get people come in and out of your home. Make sure you tell/remind your children not to answer the door. They must leave this task for an adult. The adult shouldn’t open for strangers also.
When out of the house, children must know not to get into strangers’ cars or homes. They shouldn’t chat with stranger and they must refuse to stop to give directions to strangers. A responsible adult knows not to seek help from children especially when he/she is a total stranger.
If they are lost, train them to speak to uniformed police officer or security men. They are safer in their arms than in the arms of a total stranger. Many might say “but Nigerian police cannot be trusted”. I would say I trust them more than I trust the pretty aunty or footballers down the road.
4. Kitchen Safety
When I was young I loved to stay in the kitchen and help my aunt and mum with the cooking. I would peel Maggi, onions and stand on a stool to help wash the dishes. You probably have kids who are of age or who just love kitchen work. Right? Don’t stop them but teach them how to perform those tasks safely.
For example, when soaking plates, they must make sure they do not place knives in the water as this poses a danger to them. There is the risk of getting cut.
They must say away from the flames and hot pots. They cannot assist in “hot work” until they have been taught how to do so safely.
5. Plan for Emergencies
Do you and your family know what to do if there happens to be a fire? Electrocution? You need to decide how you and your family will escape or deal with the emergency.
For fire, have an escape plan. Are you trained and able to fight the fire with an extinguisher? Get trained, – it just might save your home from buying to the ground. If it is a huge fire, abandon it and flee to safety. And of course call the fire brigade, give your location (full address and any landmarks that will help them locate you easier) and make sure everyone is accounted for.
For Electrocution, the first you should do if your child or anyone is electrocuted – separate the person from the source of electricity. Is it a fridge? Turn it off or turn off the main supply. That fusebox where you switch from Generator to PHCN.
Don’t touch the person so you don’t get electrocuted too. If the person is unconscious, they need to be taken to the hospital immediately or call an ambulance (if you have functional emergency services in your country).
If they are conscious, then monitor them. Sometime electrocution can result in tissue death or ruptured cells. Some people actually experience broken bones especially if they have fallen.
If you can’t seem to turn off power, here is what you can do – Stand on something dry and non-conductive like a wooden board and use a wooden stick or non-conductive object to separate the person from the source of electrocution. Don’t beat the person with a stick. It seems like this is the usual thinking in Nigeria lol.
You might need to do CPR if the person isn’t breathing. Do you know that there is CPR for babies, children and adults and that they vary? We will discuss this in the new year.
Everyone in your family must be aware of the plan.
6. Road Safety
There has been news of accidents recently with many of them with fatalities. We shouldn’t get carried away with the season but continue to be safe drivers and pedestrians. I have written a few posts in the past about road safety – for kids and for adults. I ask that you please click those links and read them again.
7. Sexual Health
This is an area I have deep passion for because of the many recent child sexual abuse cases I have encountered in recent times.
One major thing is to minimise the visitors and relatives who will sleep over in your home during the holidays. If they must, make sure your children are never out of sight or left alone in their company no matter how much you trust them. Better safe than sorry. Personal care of your children should be done by yourself if possible.
Another important thing is to EDUCATE your children. Please read this post I wrote recently about the importance of educating children.
So that’s it for now. Will probably add a few more points later today so watch this space.
I wish you all a fantastic Christmas celebration. Stay safe. Stay alive. See you in 2017!