Creating a safe community for children
Once the meeting starts, welcome everyone and ask the participants: • Who can help us remember what we talked about in our last meeting? • Who was able to do the activity at home that we asked you to do at the end of the meeting? How did it go? • Does anyone have questions or concerns after doing the activity?
What are we going to learn? We are going to learn how to identify and reduce the risky situations that children in the community face.
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT! We are going to look at some pictures, so we can talk about what we all know about this topic.
What things can you do in your community to reduce the risks for children?
Have there been accidents in the community that have affected the children? Tell us about them.
What are some of the most significant risks for children in your community?
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“Risk map” We will draw a map of the community with all the risks to children and we will make a plan to make these places safer.
What we’ll need: • Flipchart • Colored markers
WHAT WE’LL DO: Ask participants to think of the community and where there are places of risk for small children. • Ask them to draw a map of the community on the flipchart paper and circle all the high risk places. • At the end ask them to make a small plan for how to eliminate these risks. The plan should include: • What they are going to do • When they are doing to do it • Who is going to do it • This plan can be presented to the local authorities, to ask for their support and collaboration. Other Suggestions: Participants can plan to spend a day making simple danger signs out of sheets or tablets and put them up in the danger areas.
What did we learn today? Now, we’ll review what we discussed today. • How do you feel after this meeting? Why? • What are the two most important things you’ve learned today? • What will you do differently based on what you learned during the meeting? • What did you like the most? Are there things you didn’t like? • Do you have any remaining concerns or questions about what we talked about? To finish, what would you recommend to improve today’s meeting when we do it again with another group. (Explain that answering this question will help the meeting be even better in the future for parents with small children.)
To do at home:
Tell parents to talk with their children about the dangerous places that exist in the community.
Basic information for the facilitator: Learning more about creating a safe community for children: 1- Injuries:
• For children five and under, the number one health risk is not sickness, kidnapping, or other crimes... it is injuries. • In any community, children are at risk due to motor vehicle traffic, fires, open stoves, candles, poisons, high places that are unprotected, uncovered bodies of water, choking, guns, knives, or other weapons, domestic and wild animals. • Natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, fires, and hurricanes also put children at risk. • In many communities, young children, and especially girls, may also be at some risk of abuse either by strangers or sometimes friends or members of their own family.
2- Changing behavior:
• Making the physical environment in a community safe (repairing dangerous holes, managing traffic well, storing dangerous items in safe places) is an important way to keep communities safe for children. • To make communities safer, people have to change their own actions as well. Children can learn to keep themselves safe. For example, looking both ways when crossing a road, avoiding touching hot objects, not drinking or swallowing unknown substances and always obeying their parent’s rules. • Young children learn best when the most important safety messages are regularly repeated over many years. Community members (especially parents) can help children better understand risks in the community by talking about those risks regularly. • While the process of preventing childhood injuries has many parts, community-wide education brings it all together. Because of this, it deserves special attention from injury prevention coalitions, nursery school teachers, parents, community leaders, medical professionals and other community members.
3- Community action:
• The first thing communities may wish to do is form a community risk reduction committee or working group. The working group can start by identifying the most serious risks in the community to young children. • One technique used in many communities around the world is called risk mapping. Community members walk around their community and then later draw a map together identifying where in their community they discovered the greatest risks to small children. Then community members can focus injury prevention efforts in those areas. They should start small.
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56 • By responding first to the most serious risks to children, the risk reduction committee can achieve dramatic results early in their effort and use that momentum to build community enthusiasm for working on other dangers in the community. • One community in Asia asked the children in the community what their biggest danger was. Their response was surprising. “It is traffic and rabid dogs,” they said. So, the community leaders decided to put up traffic signs around the community, and took measures to make sure that families in the community got their dogs vaccinated and kept all dogs either tied up or inside their homes.