On the 18th of May 2022, a young pupil of Redeemers Nursery and Primary School Ogba Ikeja; drowned during a swimming lesson organized by the school at the Ivory Health Club, Ikeja. Read the full story here
This unfortunate incident brings so many safety concerns to light, negligent caretakers and lifeguards, wrong choice of facility, lack of safety education and principles, in schools.
In this article we will discuss the importance of safety education and child safety.
Safety Education; what is Safety Education and why is it important?
Safety education is simply gaining knowledge and consciousness on identifying hazards in our environment, managing risks, handling emergencies and practicing compliance.
All ages can get in on this, there are age appropriate lessons to even introduce safety awareness to young children. Safety education is quite popular with the oil and gas, construction, diving, food industries etc. sectors… but the truth of the matter is that it is actually for everyone, regardless of your field.
Why is it so? The answer is simple – hazards exist everywhere, accidents can happen anywhere, there are so many factors at play when you lack safety education consequentially leaving you exposed to accidents that could have been prevented.
In this case let us get a few things clear;
- What is the schools’ policy on Safety?
- Does the school have any caregiver/teacher/or any other staff that has received any safety training?
- The health club, what is there safety policy?
- Are the staff of the club compliant? If there is a safety policy.
- Are the parents safety conscious?
- Did the child receive any kind of prepping or any kind of safety orientation?
While I do not blame the parents of this child, safety education is not one party’s obligation. As a parent you should spend as much time and resources educating your child on safety practices to help themselves.
Safety education should be taught in schools, in parents groups or associations too. It is for the collective good of the community.
The choice of pool in my opinion is wrong, when there are kiddies appropriate pools for practicing.
The singular act of letting them sit at the edge like that, WRONG.
As they were sitting there, they had no floating device on.
Were the kids given any talks on conduct as to avoid accidents?, they would have probably protested against sitting by the pool like that, and making them sit there even after insisting and pointing out the wrong action would be another case entirely.
Why weren’t the kids offered a safer waiting area, the establishment cannot be excused on the ground. Apparently both coach and accompanying school staff could not ascertain that it was a poor choice? Shame!
This cuts across some many areas too, and this is super important. Children should not be negligently put in harm’s way, they are about the most vulnerable members of our society and they should be catered for as such.
Safety education is important for parents, older siblings, nannies, teachers and guardians generally. The utmost care and attention must be given to situations concerning their health and wellbeing and also includes their safety.
It is essential that they are safe at;
- In commute
- Play grounds/sessions
- Excursions; trips to the zoo, parks or camping etc.
The process starts with safety awareness/education, then the policies put in place by the schools or organizations, the implementation of these safety policies, and compliance.
In this case;
- The children should never have been left unchaperoned at any point in time.
- Where was the lifeguard on duty, or the Coach that handled their instruction?
- Gross Negligence; if the kids were going to be left to themselves, parents and guardians should have been requested to accompany their ward, to ensure that they will be watched.
In conclusion, this is one of many ugly incidents, that highlight the importance of Safety Education, I encourage parents to do more research on how their kids will be treated and cared for, as criteria for selecting a school, schools should be encouraged to have a HSE officer as part of the staff team for obvious reasons, safety education should be put on the curriculum, teachers and other staff should be given time to time training on handling risks and emergencies.
Safety is a communal obligation, get educated, encourage your neighbor too, and finally don’t turn a blind eye to situations that put lives at risk.