Vacation Safety Tips Information

National youth outreach director of the YMCA Gregory Sloane-Seale said in an interview on July 19, "I don't think it's wise to leave children under 12 alone at home, especially in times like these." He also advised that teenagers should engage in supervised activities, in close proximity to their home or the parents' workplace, to make it easier for parents to drop and collect them. "If you have no choice but to leave your teenagers alone at home, you should leave easily prepared food for them to eat, which would not require heating. If they don't know how to use the stove correctly or forget to turn off the stove, this can lead to fires," he said. He suggested that parents should disconnect the gas or turn it off while they are not at home. He also advised parents to lock up all detergents and poisonous substances, together with matches, lighters, pitch oil, guns and ammunition. "Sharp objects like knives, cutlasses and ice picks must also be secured to prevent accidents or unforeseen circumstances," he said. "Make sure that a neighbour knows your child or children are home and let them check on them regularly. Call them on the hour to make sure all is well and leave your neighbour's contact numbers with them in case of emergencies," he said. He also advised that children should have access to a telephone when left alone at home, in case of an emergency.

The Community Police Secretariat, Port-of-Spain offered the following safety tips for children on vacation:
  • Make sure there are telephone numbers available to them in case of an emergency.
  • Make sure your children are old enough and mature enough to take care of themselves.
  • If you must leave your children at home for any period of time, make sure they have proper supervision.
  • Tell your children never to accept gifts or rides from people they do not know.
  • Ensure your children know how to use the door and window locks, and alarm system if you have one.
  • Tell them not to let or invite anyone into your home without asking your permission.
  • Make sure they never let a caller at the door or on the telephone know they are home alone. Teach them to say, "Mom can't come to the phone (or door) right now."
  • In case of a fire, tell your children to drop to the ground, crawl or look for the nearest escape while calling for help.
  • Ensure they carry a house key with them in a safe place (in a shirt pocket or socks). Tell them not to leave it under a mat or on a ledge.
  • Do regular checks during the day to ensure that everything is all right at home.

    edited from Trinidad Guardian, Wednesday 3rd August, 2005
    Safety tips for the vacation, By Marsha Mokool,

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