TORONTO, March 10 /CNW/ - The Ontario Association of Children's Aid
Societies (OACAS) reminds parents to keep children safe during the school
In Ontario, over two million children will be out of school over the
"Children need to be cared for appropriately when they are out of school
during March Break and young children should be supervised at all times to
ensure they are safe and out of harm's way," says Jeanette Lewis, Executive
Director, OACAS. "When planning to leave a child under the age of 16
unattended or with a babysitter, parents should consider the child's age and
maturity, safety risks in the home and neighbourhood, and emergency measures
for their child."
Parents may decide their older children are more mature and responsible
enough to be unsupervised at home. Careful consideration of this decision must
include a safety plan for children in case of emergencies so they know what to
do in an emergency, who they can call and how to answer the door or telephone.
Here are some tips for parents during March Break:
- Home Alone: Make sure your child is safe and well cared for. Consider
the child's age and development level, the safety of the home
environment and neighbourhood and accessibility of parents, adults,
friends and neighbours in case of an emergency.
- Answering the door: Children should not answer the door or telephone
when parents are not at home.
- Community Services: Local community services have additional
programming and activities for children during the break and can
provide information on daycare options.
- Kith and Kin: Trusted neighbours, neighbourhood associations, family
or friends may collaborate on organizing activities or supervising
- Internet safety: Learn about what your child is doing on the
Internet, set reasonable guidelines and keep the computer in a family
room. Ensure children do not give out personal information online
such as their real name (use a screen name instead), address, phone
number, school name or location. Caution children never to meet
anyone from a chat room in person.
- Babysitting: When hiring a baby/child-sitter, parents should check
references, consider the baby/child-sitter's age, knowledge of child
care and training and assess caregiver to child ratios.
- Local CAS: When in doubt about leaving your child at home alone or if
you have questions, call your local CAS.
"Parents can protect their children from risk by assessing their child's
emotional capacity and maturity to be at home on their own and ensure there
are safety plans in place," adds Lewis.
Ontario's Children's Aid Societies protect children from abuse including
neglect, promote their well-being within their families and communities, and
provide a safe, nurturing place for children and youth to grow up.
About the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies
OACAS is a membership organization representing Children's Aid Societies
(CASs) in Ontario. The Association has served its members, the community, the
public and the government in a variety of ways since 1912. Today, OACAS
provides service in the areas of advocacy, government relations,
communications, youth in care, information management, education and training,
accreditation and member outreach. OACAS is the voice of child welfare in
For further information:
For further information: Marcelo Gomez-Wiuckstern, Communications
Manager, Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, (416) 987-9648,
(416) 407-3046 (mobile), www.oacas.org