Two reports in today’s Mumbai Mirror should be taken seriously so that such harm does not come to other children. Make the parents at your centres also aware and alert about this. Spread the message via email, facebook for the safety of all children, everywhere.
One report is about a 3 year old girl in a Hyderabad daycare centre who choked on a piece of chapatti as the ayah was feeding her hurriedly. The child lost her life due to the foolish hurry of an adult. Please ensure that the following is implemented and supervised at your centres, both day care and preschool.
- Never ask a child to hurry up while eating. Children need at least 20 to 25 minutes to complete a full meal (lunch, dinner).
- For snack time they need 10 to 15 minutes.
- It would be ok if the child is unable to complete a meal instead of forcing the child to eat fast. Explain this to parents. This problem is especially prevalent in preschool centres where teachers are forced to make kids finish their snack box and not miss on activities. Take the parents into confidence and work out a solution that does not harm the health of the child.
- Train your staff to be patient and feed smaller bites to very young children.
- Also ensure that the child is not talking or distracted with a television while eating, this too can cause choking.
- Ensure that children do not run with any sharp implement in their hands. A ball is fine but teach children to keep their pencils on the table before coming to you.
- Sometimes in their excitement children may rush to you with a pencil and book to show you their work, be alert and keep giving regular instructions to kids.
- Ensure that you take care of anything that can trip children in their natural movements around the centre. School bags lying haphazardly on the floor can cause tripping.
- Running is to be done in the outdoors not in the classroom, so just like we teach children about leaving their ‘loud voices’ outside the classroom, lets teach them to leave ‘running feet’ outside too. So ‘soft voices’ and ‘walking feet’ in the class.
- When going to the bus or toilet children tend to run, so teach them to make a butterfly with their fingers behind their back and also teach them the ‘walking feet’ song.
The above are small steps that we can all take to ensure the safety of the children in our care. All the best.