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Safety first for our children

Fred Wesley
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Police have expressed concern over the recent deaths of children around the country.

This comes as students get into the annual eight weeks school holidays which started yesterday.

The Fiji Police Force raised its concerns after the death of four children in less than a week and the discovery of another eight-year-old girl's body at the Nagata River in Labasa on Sunday.

A seven-year-old girl from Mavua Village, Nadroga, was also found floating in a river near Raiwaqa Village and an 11-year-old student died after he was hit by a vehicle along Nalovo Rd in Nadi last Thursday. Police chief operations officer Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Rusiate Tudravu confirmed that apart from these two deaths, a seven-year-old-girl reportedly committed suicide on Wednesday afternoon at her home in Ba while another 16-year-old student took her own life at her Lautoka home last Thursday morning.

ACP Tudravu said they were concerned about the reports of cases involving children even before the beginning of their holidays.

Parents have been urged to ensure the safety of their children is prioritised.

The four deaths involving children, Mr Tudravu said, should be a reminder to all parents and guardians that more needs to be done to ensure their safety over the school holidays.

On Sunday, Labasa police discovered the body of the eight-year-old girl who allegedly drowned while out on a freshwater mussel diving trip on Saturday with her grandmother at the Nagata River.

As we head straight into the holidays, as parents and guardians, let us remind ourselves about the importance of planning activities for our children over this period.

The advent of the digital age has actually changed the way many of our children spend their leisure time.

Social network sites, smart phones and tablets do have a massive influence on how children spend their holidays now.

It actually places pressure on us as parents and guardians to organise ourselves better to try and inculcate in our youngsters a yearning for activity outside the confines of internet cafes and videos for instance.

Given the fact that we are also into the annual cyclone season, how about creating some awareness about basic safety issues and likely evacuation plans on the home front?

There are obviously many things we as parents and guardians must take into consideration.

Uppermost on our minds should be the need to keep our young charges safe.

So let's place the safety of our children on a high pedestal and enjoy the festive season together.

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