I hope you've had a fabulous week and, if you're in the UK, that you were able to be inside and safe yesterday from the effects of Storm Doris which was, as I started to write this yesterday afternoon, literally blowing a gale outside our home. Our furbaby Jade & I spent the afternoon hugging on the sofa listening to the noise outside and I was hit with a horrible headache.
We were blessed to get through the storm with only a couple of fence panels blown off in the back garden. Compared to past years this really is a blessing and I think it's mostly due to Hubby working so hard to reduce the height of the back fence last year.
Storm Doris has now mostly passed us in the UK and is headed toward our cousins in Europe. Be safe dear ones, if you can, stay in doors until it passes.
Safety has been on my mind a great deal lately. So many upsetting stories in the press and on TV on a (it feels like) daily basis, so, last post I wrote about ways to stay safe when out and about. For this post I thought I'd continue this theme by looking at ways to keep yourself and family safe in crowded places such as venues.
Staying Safe In Crowded Places...
- If your outing is to a large venue, first things first, when you arrive look for and point out to the other members of your group (especially children if there are any) where the emergency or fire exits are, as well as the security office and information kiosk. Is there a first aid area? Make a note of that too.
- Wear clothes with zipped pockets, including an inner zipped pocket for your money, cards or other valuables to better avoid being targeted by pick pockets. If possible, other than a small sum to cover parking and other incidentals, it's far better to use a debit/credit card in place of carrying cash. Cards can be instantly stopped, cash is gone forever.
- Always have a note of the emergency number that's printed on your cards in case you do have to cancel them quickly. If you must carry a bag, never carry anything in it which you couldn't replace such as precious photos or in the case of my beloved Mum in law, her engagement ring which was in her purse.
- Never have valuables, such as jewellery, cameras, tablets or expensive phones on show. Try to keep such items concealed or better still leave them at home. Don't make yourself a target for muggers or pick pockets.
- Think about leaving just before the event ends, you'll miss the rush and the pushing of crowds and will be back to your car and gone, avoiding the inevitable tailback as traffic tries to leave the event.
If you have children with you its so important to plan ahead to keep them safe too. Their needs might be slightly different according to their age but certain rules apply to younger humans of all ages. For example, always have a plan in place for what they should do if you ever get separated. Have a meet up place chosen, remind them of it several times.
- Keep younger children in your sight at all times.
- Dress them in bright, easy to spot clothes.
- Write your full name, address & contact number on a label and pin it inside your child's clothing.
- Always go with them if they want to use the bathroom.
- Teach tiny humans their own full name including surname as well as Mum & Dads names too.
- Stranger danger: children are very trusting, teach them not to ever go anywhere with anyone they don't know. Children may think that bad people will look a certain way, like the villains in cartoons, equip them with the resources to stay safe. Children as young as 7 can be given a basic (non internet) phone which they could be taught how to call Mum or Dad on if they are lost. This also has the advantage of having a gps which could help you to track where they are.
- For younger children, its possible to buy a gps tag to attach to their clothing which you can sync to your phone.
- Teach younger children what to do if anyone tries to take them away. In a world where child trafficking exists this could be so important. People tend to ignore children yelling, they may think the child is upset, tired or having a tantrum, teach your child to do anything they can to get away from someone who is trying to take them away from you such as to bite or scratch or yell. If they do shout for help, teach them to shout clearly "this man/woman is not my Dad/Mum" rather than to just shout help. Other adults will be more likely to intervene to help if they know this.
- Have a clear photograph with you or on your phone in case you need help looking for your wee one from security at the venue.
As a child, many moons ago, I was always told to look for a policeman if I was ever lost or needed help. Perhaps younger children could be taught what a policeman or fireman's uniform looks like and that these people will be able to help them find you. Better to never, ever, become separated from smaller children but you'll be glad you had a clear plan in place if it ever happens.
Teens will of course want to be a little more independent, but it's still important to know where they are, who they're with and (even roughly) how long they'll be gone. Don't "order" or demand though.
Think back to when you were a teenager. The world was an amazing place, full of stuff you haven't seen before and now its that way for them. It's your job to keep them safe while they discover their ever expanding world. So, on your outing:
- Allow them a little more freedom. They may want to go explore the venue you're visiting and they should be trusted to do this.
- Set clear boundaries, such as that they call you at certain times just to let you know what they're doing and who they're with if they have friends also attending. They might prefer to be with friends rather than sit with Mum & Dad the whole time but you could set a time to eat together for instance.
- Before they go off to explore, as with their younger siblings, make sure they know where you'll be, have a meeting point.
- They too should be fully aware of who and where to go to if they should ever feel in danger and can't get to you.
- As your teen wants to have more freedom they'll need to be taught the dangers of peer pressure such as friends experimenting with drugs and asking them to try too. Its never too early to start having this discussion with them. Before you do, equip yourself with good information and make sure you listen closely to your teens views. You can find a page on peer pressure here.
- If they've been taught from an early age how to stay safe, and to respect the boundaries you set they'll be fine. Remember when setting those boundaries though to respect their growing need for a little independence. Communication is everything. Listen to them, decide what you want to stand firm on, such as checking in with you, but also in which areas you can compromise, such as allowing them to sit with friends when at the cinema rather than with you, even if you sit a few rows behind so you can keep an eye on them😊
There we have it then honeys. Just a little forward planning and any outing can run smoothly and fabulous memories of happy (and safe) days out can be collected. Till next time dear ones, stay safe if you're being affected by this dreadful weather, smile lots and hug even more 😊