Safe holidays 2023, or the Safe Pooh Academy advises!

Holidays are a short but very necessary time in a child's life, which can be spent on fun and rest. The winter break is also a period when playful children can be exposed to many threats. Regardless of whether the winter holidays will be spent away or at home, every adult should know how to ensure the safety of the youngest at this time.

Holidays in the city (and not only) are not boring!

This year, many children crossed the school for the first time, thus becoming full-fledged students. First graders are usually very happy to start their education, because although there are many new experiences and challenges ahead, they also have many privileges. One of them is winter holidays. Sometimes, however, a doubt arises: how to guarantee a valuable and fun time for a child in the hometown when a trip is not possible?

The first winter holidays, which are supposed to be a break from student duties, are definitely worth spending outdoors – of course, if the weather is good. This two-week break is the best time for winter activities, including slide riding, ice skating, snowball fights or building a snowman. However, before leaving the house, you should first of all dress warmly, eat a light but filling meal and remember a few important rules for staying safe during the winter madness.

Rolling down the hill

One of the most popular winter activities for children is go sledding. However, it is  possible only when the hill is not too steep and is located in a safe place, i.e. away from busy streets, intersections and water reservoirs. Before the start of the fun, adults should check whether the sledge or other winter equipment intended for sliding down is in good technical condition and suitable for use.

Winter sports

The youngest lovers of winter adventures have a wide range of possibilities. When going to the mountains, skiing or snowboarding can give them a lot of fun. Before such activity, however, it is worth remembering about warm clothing adapted to sports, appropriate protection of the head (wearing a helmet), as well as a decent warm-up. For beginners, the safest places will be less crowded places and the support of a professional instructor.

Snowball fight

Throwing snowballs will bring a lot of joy to the youngest – provided, however, that they are not compacted hard or do not hide hard elements inside, e.g. small stones that could hurt. Otherwise, an innocent joke can hurt the other person. It should also be remembered that under no circumstances in playing snowballs can the target be moving vehicles or random passers-by.

Ice acrobatics

Winter, thanks to its frosty aura, makes puddles sometimes turn into slides. However, if they appear on the sidewalks or at pedestrian crossings, they cannot be used as a form of fun. A slippery surface can be very dangerous for people passing by, and an unfortunate fall can even end in a fracture. There is another solution! You also never know how deep a frozen place is. That is why you can slide or skate at will on specially prepared places – ice rinks. It is very important not to step on frozen lakes, ponds or other bodies of water. Ice can only deceptively appear thick. It is also worth remembering not to use hanging icicles to play with – their sharp edges can easily hurt.

What if there is no snow outside?

W domu i poza domem – te zasady się przydają!

It happens that in some regions of Poland the weather is not good and children spend their free time at home. Then a good solution will be joint creative games, in which parents or siblings can also participate, e.g. cut-outs, painting or arranging puzzles or board games. Holidays at home are also the perfect time for a long walk in the nearby park or forest, which will certainly have an additional positive effect on the condition of both the child and older family members.

Also, staying at home, parents have many interesting opportunities to spend holidays together – even if the winter weather is not conducive. You can then take advantage of the attractions available nearby and go with your child, e.g. to the swimming pool, ice rink, playground or climbing wall. The time spent in this way will certainly be fun – not only for the youngest members of the family.

At home and away from home - these rules come in handy!

Decisions regarding children’s independence are extremely difficult for any parent. If your child is a bit older and stays home alone for a while during the holidays or has permission to go out on their own, it is crucial that they follow some very important safety rules.

 

The door to the house should be locked from the inside. In the absence of adults, no one can be allowed inside – no matter who the person claims to be, e.g. a neighbour, a postman or even a policeman.

 

The keys to the apartment should be hidden under clothing, e.g. on a leash. This place will protect them from loss and make them invisible or easy to remove by unauthorized hands.

Outside the home, you should not talk to strangers, and even more so you should not give them information – neither about yourself nor about your loved ones. You can also not use invitations from strangers for a walk or entering an unknown car.

Going outside, when dusk is falling outside the window, you need to be clearly visible – both on the road, on the pavement, and in the yard. Any reflective elements that can be attached to the jacket will be extremely helpful. These can be e.g. bands, vest or stickers.

When using the internet, whether on your phone or computer, you should never talk to strangers. The child should always inform his parents or the teacher of any such contact. A stranger in the virtual world may be a scammer who impersonates a colleague. Before leaving the house, it is worth remembering the principle of dressing “onion”. Thanks to the possibility of removing subsequent layers of clothing, the child will avoid overheating. In order to protect the body against colds and infections, after winter fun in the snow, you should always take off your wet clothes first, dry yourself and change clothes. After returning home, a warm drink will also be the perfect solution.

Messages, comments, likes and many, many other possibilities of virtual contact with colleagues are provided by social networking sites. Just like in everyday life, the rules of cultural behaviour,  the so-called netiquette. Its basic rules are, among others: respect for the other person – we do not insult, call names, do not use profanity, additionally we do not tolerate hate, do not abuse CAPS LOCK and do not troll, so we do not publish offensive content only to cause arguments.

In the eye of an expert:

“More than 3 million Polish children[1] participate in winter holidays, and unfortunately, some of them suffer accidents as a result of improper use of the charms of this frosty season. This is worrying data, therefore, in order to protect the youngest, special emphasis should be placed on their education during this period – how to deal with unusual situations or avoid lurking threats. It is the responsibility of both parents and teachers to pass on safety knowledge during time off from school. A great support for them is the Safe Pooh Academy – an educational program that helps children gain new experiences and deal with the difficulties they encounter. Thanks to the fact that we have been part of this initiative for years, we actively teach children about safety issues. Our main task is to educate first-graders on the rules of the road, children’s first aid skills, cybersecurity, reacting to strangers’ provocations, staying at home when their parents are away, as well as learning how to stay safe in winter” – explains Aleksandra Borucka from the Central Police Headquarters .

[1] Data from the Central Statistical Office for 2020 as of January 5, 2022.

About program "Safe Pooh Academy"

“Safe Pooh Academy” is the largest educational program in Poland on safety, addressed to the first grade of primary schools throughout the country. It has been organized for 13 years by the Pooh brand, in cooperation with the Department of Social Prevention of the Prevention Office of the Police Headquarters and the Department of Supervision and Prevention of the Road Traffic Office of the Police Headquarters. The Honorary Patron of the action is the Chief Commander of the Police and the Board of Education. Till today, a total of almost 3,000,000 children have participated in the program.

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