Are your kids safe this summer?

Release Date: 12 July 2017

With the summer break round the corner, the Council has issued a series of hints and tips for parents, in a bid to help try and help keep children and young people safe from the pressures of the extended holiday.

With the six weeks school holidays shortly about to begin, young people will be seeking to avoid ‘boredom’ and will look for fun activities, particularly if the summer weather continues. However, this period also tends to see a rise in peer pressure and behaviours that aren’t typical of many young people.

The Council is therefore using the opportunity to remind parents about risky behaviours, particularly around alcohol, drugs, river safety and sexual health. All of these tend to see a rise in incidents over the summer.

Alcohol: Alcohol affects the health of young people more than it affects adults and that’s reflected in the legal age limits on alcohol. 

Drugs: Since 2016, all drugs previously descripted as ‘legal highs’ have been banned. Locally, there has also been an increase in the number of young people using Xanax – a very strong drug prescribed for anxiety, although not in the UK. This drug, often bought online, can have negative side effects especially when taken with alcohol. The FRANK website has advice on drugs. 

River safety: With 21 miles of river in Richmond there is plenty to enjoy by the riverside but unfortunately the river can also be a danger. Over a third of people who accidently drown were aged between 15-29 years and had been drinking. Visit the Royal Life Saving Society website for more information.

Sexual health: Unfortunately the number of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) is on the rise in London. Condoms are the still the best way to provide protection against both pregnancy and STIs including HIV, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis. Visit the Getting It On website for more information about sexual health and the Richmond free condoms scheme.

Festivals/concerts: The summer is a popular time for festivals and concerts and most festivals or concerts have their own website with event specific safety information. However there are a few general things to consider:

  • Help your child to have a simple and clear plan which includes where to meet if they get separated from the group, how to get there and back home and emergency contacts.
  • Keep expensive personal belongings at home, taking only what is needed
  • Don’t keep money and valuables all in the same place
  • It’s safer and more fun to be in a group

Travelling safely: Travelling around London can sometimes be daunting but it doesn’t need to be and there are lots of simple ways to stay safe when travelling in London. The MET police website has more information on travelling safely. 

Parents looking for safe, summer activities for their children, should check the VisitRichmond website.

Cllr Susan Chappell, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools, said:

“All children and young people look forward to the summer holidays. Particularly if they have just had exams. However, unfortunately we know that this time of year also brings a rise in the number of incidents involving the health of youngsters.

“Many parents aren’t aware at what to look out for or how to support their children over the next few weeks. But, it is important that all are on their guard against the pressures of alcohol, drugs, sex and other risky behaviours.

“This isn’t about stopping young people have fun. But ensuring that they do it safely. There is a lot of information available to help guide families and young people on these sensitive issues. All parents should familiarise themselves and talk to their children about the risks to ensure that their young people enjoy their summer in a safe and responsible way.”

Updated: 31 July 2017