How to stay safe over the summer holidays
The summer is a wonderful time for children and young people to take a well-earned break from their hard work throughout the year. However, we need to ensure pupils know how to keep themselves safe at home.
If there is a child or young person who you are particularly worried about over the summer, make sure that someone will be in contact with the family over the holidays and consider how often they will be in touch. Where appropriate, give children and young people additional sources of support such as ChildLine and the NSPCC helpline in case they need someone to talk to.
Schools are expected to teach pupils how to keep themselves safe both physically and online. Assemblies, PHSE lessons and curriculum-based learning are great for discussing potential concerns and what pupils should do if they find themselves in trouble.
Parents and carers should also be reminded of the risks that could be posed to their children’s safety and key messages should be publicised around the school site and disseminated to parents via text, handouts and newsletters. The school website should reflect these messages too.
Water, whether it be ponds, open water or swimming pools, can be dangerous. It only takes three minutes to drown. Jumping into water which is less than 15C can cause the body to go into shock. There may also be hidden dangers under the water which could result in injury.
Another common danger is entering disused buildings which present risks such as collapse, gas leaks, electric hazards, and discarded items including used syringes and chemicals.
Deliberate fires tie up fire officers’ time when they could be needed at a more serious incident. They could also result in serious injury or death.
Under-age drinking can make young people very vulnerable. The most common location for consuming alcohol for children is at their own or someone else's home with parties being the second most popular setting. Drinkaware highlights that the risks of drinking include alcohol poisoning, liver damage, mental health issues, self harm, heightened aggression and even death.
Anti-social behaviour (ASB)
It is vital that young people are taught how to remain responsible in the (potentially) unstructured summer break. What may seem like high jinks to one person may be perceived as anti-social behaviour to another. Anti-social behaviour is classified as any aggressive, intimidating or destructive activity that damages or destroys another person’s quality of life. This definition is very broad and can include:
- Nuisance behaviour
- Rowdy behaviour
- Vandalism/criminal damage
- Noise nuisance
- Animal related problems
- Littering/fly posting
- Vehicle related nuisance and inappropriate vehicle use
- Prostitution/kerb crawling/inappropriate sexual behaviour
- Street drinking
- Drug and substance misuse
- Aggressive begging
- Nuisance caused by the persistent burning of waste.
Schools should ensure that pupils and parents are aware of how to report ASB by contacting the local authority and how to avoid allowing themselves to become involved in such behaviour.
Messages to help pupils and parents
When out and about young people should stick to well-lit areas where there are other people around.
Parents should ensure that curfews are set and adhered to and that there is regular communication throughout the day between the young person and a responsible adult.
Basic care messages, such as the importance of remaining hydrated and wearing sun-cream should be discussed with families and carers, particularly for pupils of primary age.
Parents should know where their children are and who they are with.
Social media and online gaming time should be limited to a reasonable amount per day and web browsing should be done in family areas rather than bedrooms where possible (or bedroom doors should always remain open when a child or young person is online).
Schools should link with other services at the beginning of the summer break, such as Social Care or Education Welfare and Attendance services to ensure that any relevant information is shared prior to the break and someone is checking on the wellbeing of vulnerable families.
The Education Welfare and Safeguarding Team at One Education offer a holiday support service and ‘Safe and Well Visits’, we will visit vulnerable families to ensure that all is well. Let One Education take the burden while you are away. Get in touch here.
Above all have a safe and happy holiday.