CHILD safety starts with the parents and guardians from home.
This is the resounding message from the Fiji Police Force as thousands of students around the country return to school tomorrow for the new 2013 school term.
And as is always the case with the beginning of every school year, it is an exciting time for students.
Police say that it is this excitement that often makes children forget safety rules and precautions. "That's why the Fiji Police is reiterating the need for parents to make talking with their children about safety a top priority," police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said.
"Our officers will be out to ensure the safety of children on their first day back at school with a lot of emphasis on traffic operations," she said.
"Back to school means more children walking on our roads. Younger children often have limited experience with traffic and lack the skills to negotiate traffic safely," she added.
Ms Naisoro said parents must stress the need to practise precautionary measures at all times while travelling to and from school and avoid playing on the road.
She said this was the time when police would also like to request the assistance of motorists to take special care while driving.
"Please be aware of school zones, reduce speed in school zones, be ready to stop at all times as children do not always notice oncoming traffic and please be patient and wait for the children to complete crossing before proceeding," Ms Naisoro said.
"The Fiji Police wants all children to be safe for the upcoming school year," she said.
Ms Naisoro said everyone had a responsibility to teach children to be safe and to follow their lead in personal safety.
She says parents and or guardians must not assume that your child knows what to do.
"It is also advisable to make sure your child knows your contact details especially for first timers if and when they do encounter a situation where we need to get in touch with you outside of school hours or boundaries," Ms Naisoro said.
"We would like to wish all students the best for the 2013 school year and are optimistic of an incident-free start, with the co-operation of school heads, teachers, management, parents and guardians and members of the public," she said.