Podcast: How families can prepare for emergencies

On this week's episode of Sisters Without Shame, Professor Claudia Gray from Kids Allergy in Cape Town unpacks the do's and don'ts for child safety in the festive season. Photo: Supplied/Health For Mzansi

With the festive season just around the corner, now is the time to stock up your emergency kit. This is the view of Cape Town specialist paediatrician Professor Claudia Gray who is featured on the latest Sisters Without Shame podcast.

Gray’s advice comes as the December holiday not only brings some Christmas cheer to new parents, but also anxiety when it comes to child safety. In the podcast, she unpacks some of the do’s and don’ts.

Cape Town paediatrician Professor Claudia Gray. Photo: Supplied/Kids Allergy

“Looking after these little creatures can be quite exhausting,” says Gray.  “I suggest that you take shifts with your spouse, partner or whoever you are on holiday with. This is so that you can all enjoy the holiday and have some time to socialise.” 

Stay ready for emergencies

However, it is always better to be overprepared when on holiday, says Gray. 

“When on holiday you’d rather be equipped with a medical kit than sourcing around a place you’re not even familiar with.”

Must-haves in a basic kit include:

• antiseptic ointments for bruises and wounds;

• antihistamine syrup or tables for allergies and stings;

• paracetamol or ibuprofen for fever and pain;

• nasal spray for congestion;

• cortisone syrup for croup, wheezing and tight chest;

• antidiarrheal and nausea medications; and

• powdered antibiotics for when you are travelling far.

You kids’ safety needs are determined by their age, says Gray. 

Safety needs of toddlers

They tend to want to eat anything at their disposal and tend to touch the most dangerous things. 

“They need to be with you at all times,” warns Gray. “These kids don’t have a sense of what is happening, what is right and what is wrong. They depend on the supervision of an adult or their guardian, so you have to be their set of eyes at all times.”

What about pre-teens?

With slightly older kids, Gray says it is all about knowing where they are all the time as they may leave your sight and cause trouble or be caught up in a sticky situation.

“These kids need to also know where you are, so that if they need help, they can easily reach you. They also need a little bit of lee way to do their own things, and you need to allow them that and constantly check where they are.”

Professor Claudia Gray

Safety needs of teenagers

This is the hardest age group, according to Gray.

“With them you need to have a word before going on holiday. Talk about everything from health to strength. Talk about the birds and bees; what they may be exposed to while on holiday, [including] drugs and substances.”

What about the Covid-19 threat?

Gray says parents need to stay vigilant and Covid-19 wise. 

“We need to stay ahead and react immediately to any sign of resurgence of the coronavirus. Children have been socialising too, and as parents you need to keep your children around fewer crowds should the number of cases begin to go high. 

“Also keep in mind that it’s better to socialise with a group of fewer people you know, because with them you can easily be alerted of any covid related scare if there is one, for an easy and immediate isolation.”

She further reiterates the importance of sticking to basic precautionary measures like wearing a mask, keeping a distance, and keeping your hands clean and sanitised all the time. 

How to listen to the full interview on Sisters Without Shame 

Spotify: Click here to listen on Spotify (all mobile and other devices). 

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Google Podcasts: Click here to listen on Google Podcast.

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Want to connect with Sisters Without shame? 

To send an SOS to Sisters Without Shame, email hello@healthformzansi. Alternatively, send a WhatsApp to 076 132 0454.

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