Sunday 26 May 2019

Safety first is the message for our kids

Maria Herlihy

The dangers of water and for children on farms is well documented, and there is no arguing with the fatality statistics.

Nationally, 109 people were drowned two years ago, and over the last decade 30 children lost their lives in drowning accidents, the equivalent to a classroom of children. Between 2008 and 2017, children accounted for 11 per cent of all fatalities in farm-related accidents. 

Recently, a number of Cork schools were lauded for promoting water-, road- and farm-safety awareness, and 15 different schools made their way to County Hall to pick up their CCC Safety Awareness Flag award.  

Cork County Council was the first local authority to introduce such an initiative, and since its launch four years ago,  the programme expanded to cover farm and road safety. So far, 240 flags have been awarded to schools, libraries and leisure centres throughout the county. 

The programme was undertaken  through activities involving story books, board games, card games, activity handbooks and  colouring sheets provided by Cork County Council. This spreads the message throughout participating schools and embeds safety awareness in the culture of the school. Local national schools that picked up their certificates included Meelin, Rylane, Baltydaniel, Farran and Gaelscoil Mhuscraí in Blarney. 

Cork County Council's Water and Road Safety Development Officer, Caroline Casey, noted the importance of education on water, road and farm safety. 

"All three are interlinked and extremely important. The message sticks because we engage all students and encourage fun interaction with safety. We have 423 Primary Schools across County Cork and aim to have some information with an education drive around child safety in every school, either through a visit or with learning resources," she said. 

Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy was on hand to present each school with their safety flags and noted the effects of such initiatives.