Children at greater risk over the summer …Parents warned to be vigilant during the holidays
Parents are being asked to ensure that their children are under proper supervision at home this summer, as the season is historically plagued with drowning, fire-related deaths, and online sex predators who try to lure children into wrongs during the holidays.
Little more than a week since the closure of most schools, the police have reported the drowning of at least two boys, and the death of an infant who was reportedly left in the care of minors, when their home caught fire on Bay Farm Road in St Andrew recently.
The dead boys are 18-year-old Jevan James, who reportedly drowned in the Blue Hole River in Mandeville, Manchester, on July 1; and 12-year-old Oshane Crawford, who met his demise on July 6 after finding himself in difficulties at the Diamond Beach in Lyssons, St Thomas.
Two other youngsters, who were also struggling with Oshane, were rescued by quick-thinking employees of a funeral home, who had just completed a funeral and were having a drink nearby.
The parents of one-year-old Neymar Facey were not so lucky. They and residents of Bay Farm Road, St Andrew, have been mourning the loss of the baby, whose charred remains were pulled from the rubble of a five-bedroom home, which was razed approximately 6 p.m. on July 9.
“Accidents happen, especially if you live in a house that can go up in flames easily. So just from a safety perspective, we need to be very mindful. And another thing is that parents need to recognise that parenting comes with a lot of sacrifices,” Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison told The Sunday Gleaner.
“We have heard stories of parents who leave their children at home when they have gone to bed. Some may want to go to the dance or the session in their community. We just cannot afford to take those chances.”
She noted also that children will flock to large bodies of water to cool down because of the heat, “so you always need to have discussions with children and have them understand that unless there is a responsible adult around, then they shouldn’t be playing in water”.
Head of the Corporate Communications Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Assistant Superintendent Dahlia Garrick, noted that the summer months are when most Jamaican children go missing – in some cases after meeting unscrupulous individuals online.
“The missing persons’ numbers tend to rise during the summer months, especially our teenagers. So parents really need to know their children’s whereabouts at all time. Parents also need to be vigilant as to the level of access children have to the Internet. Supervision must be given there,” said Garrick, noting that more than 500 children have been reported missing since the start of the year.
The warning was extended by head of the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), Senior Superintendent Charmaine Shand, who said they are processing at least one case of rape involving an online predator, who reportedly target young teenage girls.