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<ol><li> 1. HOW TO KEEP YOUR CHILD SAFE ON HOLIDAY. By: Amb Steve Mbugua. Director, Makinika Afrika Intl Schools are closing this week and next week and its obvious a great headache having the kids at home. The holidays are a great opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends, celebrate life, to be grateful, and reflect on whats important. They are also a time to appreciate the gift of health. Home is a place to relax, play and enjoy spending time with family. Of course, accidents happen, and there will be minor scrapes and bruises along the way, especially as kids grow and discover new things. And thats OK. The problem is the more serious injuries that are often completely preventable. Here are some holiday tips to support your efforts for health and safety this season. IF you're a parent, you've probably wondering what your kids will be doing in the next few weeks before going back to school. With a growing sense of horror, we have watched a lot of families having their kids injured, dead and other getting lost in unclear circumstances. But as thousands of families prepare to jet off on holiday there are some basic steps you can take to ensure your child's safety. Merciful cases of having forums and initiatives addressing child safety are very rare and your child has more chance of being hit by a motorbike or falling when playing than being abducted. The more likely dangers come from swimming pools, balconies, car parks, open ditches and sewage wholes and even problems with the room, such as potentially fatal gas leaks. And without family and friends around to help with the kids, parents often make compromises. Some are happy to let them roam free in "safe" holiday villages, rely on baby-listening devices instead of babysitters, or even, leave the kids asleep in the apartment, and regularly pop back to check up on them. </li><li> 2. But are these unreasonable risks? Parents have a difficult balance to strike between being aware of all the dangers children face and wrapping them in cotton wool. Here is how to minimize the risks to youngsters during holidays. 1. WATCH THE KIDS. Children are at high risk for injuries. Keep a watchful eye on your kids when theyre eating and playing. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, choking hazards (like coins and hard candy), and other objects out of kids' reach. Make sure toys are used properly. Develop rules about acceptable and safe behaviors, including using electronic media. If you have a house manager(nannies), be friend to her and give her rules and directions on good child care techniques. 2. STAY CLOSE CHILDCARE experts reckon it is OK to leave children for a short time, as long as you're satisfied that the room is secure - checking windows and doors - and you are not far away. Some pediatric experts says: "If your children are tired - and you know that once they're settled they're unlikely to wake up - it's not an unreasonable risk to leave them in the room if it's secure and you can keep it within eyesight." Avoid being on the ground floor, as it's easy for someone to gain access. And don't rely on other people without making sure you are happy with the arrangements. It's easy to assume someone's looking after the kids when you're out in a crowd but this doesn't always work. It's up to you to make sure they are OK. </li><li> 3. 3. IF THEY GET LOST IT'S easy to take a more relaxed attitude to things simply because the sun's shining. In fact, on holiday we need to be extra diligent. All parents should take steps to make sure if their kids stray, they can be easily found. Be careful moreso if you take your kids to visit relatives or friends in un familiar location to them. "While away from home your children won't know the address and phone number of where they're staying, like they would for their own home. So, for little ones, write it on a piece of paper and put it in a zippable pocket. Older children need to know of a meeting point in case they get lost." 4. ROOM SAFETY WHEN booking a room or apartment ask about balconies and whether they are safe for young children - they shouldn't have wide railings that little ones could squeeze through, and must be high enough so that tots can't climb over them. It's also worth checking fire escapes when you arrive so everyone knows where they are and that fire doors actually work and the stare way clear. Also ensure there are smoke detectors in the room and a number of fire extinguishers. Install a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your home. Test them once a month, and replace batteries twice a year. It's unlikely that there will be a gas leak or fire, but a detector is the best way of finding out and it only costs a few Kenya shillings. A fire blanket is important in the kitchen. When you arrive in the room remove anything potentially dangerous, particularly if you have toddlers. So glasses, knives and ornamental vases should all be out of reach. Pictures above sofa seats can be taken down and ask for sharp-edged coffee tables and floor lamps to be stored away during your stay. </li><li> 4. Most residential fires are caused by electric faults and mishandling of fire. Keep candles away from children, pets, walkways, trees, and curtains. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended. Don't use generators, grills, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home or garage. 5. HANDLE AND PREPARE FOOD SAFELY. Food poisoning, diarrhoring, vomiting and stomach upsets are common to kids during holidays. As you prepare holiday meals, keep yourself and your family safe from food-related illness. Wash hands and surfaces often. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs (including their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces. Cook foods to the proper temperature. Refrigerate promptly. Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water, and rub them together for at least 20 seconds. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you dont have tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. 6. TRAFFIC DANGERS SIZE up the proximity of busy road or public transport to where you are staying. Make a mental note of where your child might end up, should they wander off and board a bus or train. A lot of cases have been reported of kids living along railway lines in Nairobi boarding a train and then get lost in the process of tracing their home. Check what's on the other side of nearby fire escapes or back door, as your child could have access to a busy road. And make sure they know which side of the road the traffic will come from. </li><li> 5. 7. KEEP THEM CONTAINED DURING the day, plan lots of activities so your kids won't get bored and wander off. If you're by the pool or another outside place, make sure it's a secure area with contained activities - so there's no risk of them going off without you knowing about it. Teach them to swim as soon as possible. And if they're not good swimmers don't let them out of your sight even for a moment when they play near the pool. Check gates and fire escapes - assess any routes that allow people in or out for their impact on your children's safety. 8. TRAIN THEM WELL BUILD confidence in your children, so that if they do end up in a threatening situation they will know how to behave. Tell them that if someone tries to grab them they should scream, kick and shout, "No! Leave me alone! You're not my mummy/daddy!" to alert passers-by that they are in danger. Also make sure they know what to do if they get lost. Tell them to find someone official looking - such as a policeman or member of staff - or if there's nobody around they should approach a family with young children and tell them they're lost. 9. WISE UP FIND the location of the nearest hospital or doctors, ambulance, clinic - just in case. Read up on basic first aid, how to resuscitate a baby, what to do if a child chokes or is stung by an insect. And keep all the local emergency numbers to hand so that time isn't wasted if you need help. Encourage the teenagers to get involved in youth programs like Kenya Students Christian Fellowship (KSCF), Young life Kenya, Personal Development Initiative(PDI) church youth groups etc. they keep them busy and give them something to look forward to. </li><li> 6. For more advice on parenting, follow me on Tweeter through @AmbSteveMbugua For issues concerning child safety, road safety, personal safety and disaster preparedness and response. </li></ol>