Labour Weekend signals the start of the social summer season in New Zealand.
The weather gets warmer, Christmas festivities and holiday planning begins – present shopping, menu setting, bach bookings, summer slim down programmes . . .
But this year, Child Matters – Hamilton-based national child advocacy organisation – is urging adults to keep something else in mind over the silly season: keeping your children safe.
Child Matters chief executive, Anthea Simcock, said this means ensuring there is at least one designated, non-drinking person to supervise children at every social gathering.
“It means that if your children are staying away from home, you know where they will be, and more importantly who else will be there. Find out if any other guests will be present,” she said. “If children are present at a party or social occasion, remind guests to keep alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and lighters out of reach of children. And it also means considering your behaviour – what may be a fun party trick for an adult, may not be safe or appropriate for children to mimic.”
The message from Child Matters coincides with the upcoming child abuse prevention initiative Buddy Day on 14 November. Buddy Day revolves around life-sized cardboard cutouts of children – ‘Buddies’ – that are adopted by adults, taken into communities and workplaces, and used as a tool to generate conversations about the wellbeing of our children – and that it’s up to all adults to keep kids safe.
5 tips for keeping kids safe at social gatherings
1. Designate at least one non-drinking person to supervise children
2. Do not supply children under the legal drinking age with alcohol, under any circumstance
3. If your child is away from home, know where your child is and who they are with
4. If children are present at a party, remind guests to keep alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and lighters out of children’s reach
5. Consider your behaviour – remember that a fun adult party trick may not be safe or appropriate for children to mimic