Hanoi, June 13, 2021 – Within the framework of Action Month for Children 2021, Department of Children – Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD) and Child Rights Governance network (CRG) conduct an online talk show “Happy and safe summer holiday for all children” with the support of Save the Children.
According to data from state management agencies, each year in Vietnam average of 4,000 children die from various causes of accidents and injuries, of which drowning and traffic accidents are the most common causes of death. Thanks to fairly synchronous interventions, the number of children dying from drowning in the 2016-2020 period has decreased compared to the figure in the 2010-2015 period; the rate of children dying from drowning decreased by an average of 3-4% per year, equivalent to a total of about 500 children being saved each year. However, on average, every year in Vietnam, more than 2,000 children die from drowning. The drowning mortality rate in Vietnam is still higher than that of the Western Pacific region and ten times higher than that of high-income countries (Australia, Germany, France, Canada, and Denmark). This summer has only just begun, but a series of tragic deaths from drowning has been reported in recent days.
Besides the worry about the epidemic, parents all have the same concern about how to care for, manage, and educate their children to ensure that their children have a safe and rewarding summer, especially worrying about their health and safety. Therefore, within the framework of Action Month for Children 2021, with the theme “Joining hands to ensure the implementation of child rights – Protecting children during natural disasters and epidemics”, the Department of Children and MSD have coordinated to organize an online talk show “Happy and safe summer holiday for all children”. The talk was broadcasted at 15:00 on June 13, 2021, on Fanpage: MSD Vietnam, National Child helpline and Spreading Love, to share knowledge for parents and custodians to avoid accidents and injuries as well as promptly and properly respond to unfortunate situations that may occur, minimizing unfortunate events and consequences.
The seminar was attended by Mr. Dang Hoa Nam – Director of the Department of Children; Master, Doctor Nguyen Trong An – Who has devoted a lot of enthusiasm to child protection and care activities; and was coordinated by Ms. Nguyen Hai Anh – MSD Project Manager, who is also an expert in the field of child protection.
Children’s lives and safety are the most important
The speakers shared about the current status and causes of children’s injuries at home and in the community. Dr. Nguyen Trong An shared: “Injury accidents mostly happen around the house, and in the house premises, the most common problem is drowning when children come into contact with water containers or slip and fall, etc. Besides, babies can poke sticks into electrical sockets, come into contact with detergents, mistakenly take adult medicines that are not suitable for children, etc. In our family, we often subjectively think this is a safe environment, but in reality, there are many potential risks.” Therefore, Mr. An noted the role of the family in child protection in building a safe house model is extremely important.
Mr. An shared a “secret” for families: “The safe house model ensures that parents are provided with knowledge and ways to detect the risks of accidents for children in the house such as the location of the thermos, that medicine cabinets must be stored in a place out of reach of children, sharp knives must be kept high, chemicals must not be stored in bottles such as mineral water, soft drinks… Parents must be aware of potential hidden dangers in their homes. The model also recommends that children under three years of age should have a crib. This solution could help save millions of children from dying.”
Mr. Dang Hoa Nam shared four critical issues in child protection:
The first is the correct awareness of the importance of protecting children’s lives and finding solutions. Mr. Nam shared: “I am unfortunate because it seems that we do not value children’s lives as much as adults’ lives. When an accident happens, I always ask the local government to come and visit and find out why the children drowned: Has the family been informed? Is there a warning in the frequently-occurred accident area? Have children learned to swim, etc? Only local authorities and stakeholders will have solutions to protect children”.
The second is the issue of creating a safe physical environment for children, ensuring a safe environment in the family and community. Mr. Nam shared heartbreaking stories: “I visited a family where a child died from drowning, but when I went to the back of the house, I still saw an unfenced pond, an uncovered well, but, a few years ago, this same family had a child die from drowning. Or we talk about children falling from high areas a lot, parents crying out in pity, but their own family did not make a safety net. I also note: Many families pay attention to feng shui to make the family happy, and rich in fortune. However, the best feng shui should be a safe house for children.
Third, children, parents, and family members need to learn safety skills to protect children themselves and protect their children. Mr. Nam shared: “Building skills for families to prevent accidents such as first aid knowledge is fundamental. Parents just need to take a little time to read, to remember when needed, sometimes saving a child’s life.”
Mr. Dang Hoa Nam – Head of the Department of Child Affairs
Finally, sanctions should be promoted to protect children in the family and community. Mr. Nam also shared his observation that many child accidents occur, but no fatal accidents of children have been verified, explicitly investigated to attribute responsibility, and legally handle the stakeholders. Shortly, it is expected that this June, there will be an approved National program to protect children from injury. However, he noted: “Children protection is not just a matter of a 5-year, 10-year national program, but it is something that every family, each person with the responsibility to protect children must do every day.”
Ms. Nguyen Hai Anh – MSD Project Manager shared: “There is a saying that “It takes a whole village to raise a child” – which means that ensuring the safety of children is not only the responsibility of parents, and babysitters but also the responsibility of the whole community. Therefore, if a child is found in a situation where there is a risk of injury, each person needs to remind and warn to protect the child’s safety. For example, when we go out on the street and see a parent with his child on a motorbike without wearing a helmet for their child, without a seat belt, letting children sit and play in the front, etc., we also need to speak up. Every parent needs to set an example for their children in obeying traffic safety regulations and equip their children with safety protective gear to form good habits for children.”
Preventing children from drowning – Teaching children to swim is not enough
In the second part of the program, the speakers shared more deeply about preventing drowning accidents in children – the leading cause of child death in the summer. Mr. Dang Hoa Nam shared integrated solutions to protect children from drowning. For families, Mr. Nam noted that families could not just consider sending their children to swimming lessons as the key to solving all problems related to drowning children. “For children, knowing how to swim is just a sufficient condition for them to protect themselves. Children need to have safety skills in the water environment, such as what to do when they have a cramp when swimming. Even though they know how to swim, many children are used to swimming in some areas but still drown. The children have not been regularly reminded about safety skills, so they have not yet acted properly when in danger of drowning. Therefore, I want to emphasize that children need to learn to swim safely and fully supplement safety skills in the water environment.”
Doctor Nguyen Trong An also shared that, in addition to educating about drowning prevention skills, drowning rescue and first aid skills at the right time for drowning children in particular and accidents and injuries, in general, are also especially important. “When a child, or even an adult, is drowning, it is not allowed to swim out to pick up the child, except in cases where the child is in shallow water. If you are in deep water, you need to shout for everyone to come to help. You need to look around for something to cling to or a rope to pull to the shore and then throw it to the drowning person so they can cling. If you have an excellent drowning ability, you can directly save the baby, but if you cannot save the drowning, you should call for help from everyone. After rescuing the baby, we must immediately clear the baby’s airway. This is a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skill that requires close coordination, proper practice, accurate information, and practice of breathing and CPR to be appropriate for children of each age.
The live stream has received a lot of attention and interaction from hundreds of viewers, comments, and discussions to protect children from injury. Closing the discussion, Ms. Nguyen Hai Anh shared “Ensuring the methods to avoid accidents and injuries, helping to have a safe summer and life for all children need the cooperation and responsibility and actions of all stakeholders. So don’t neglect it for a minute; regret it for a lifetime.”
Watch the talk show here:
Action Month for Children 2021 includes communication activities through mass media and social media. During Action Month, the Department of Children in collaboration with MSD and CRG Network will regularly share articles, photos, videos, online talks with experts, etc. to provide parents and teachers, and custodians of children with useful information on topics such as: Caring for children in quarantine, Preventing accidents and injuries for children, Accompanying children to use the internet safely and effectively, Positive Education and Promotion of Children’s Participation in the Family, etc., aiming to bring children a safe and fun summer during the pandemic. The information will be posted on the Fan page: Spreading Love, National Child helpline and the group Home Story – Journey with children to grow up.
(Ms) Chu Thu Ha – Event and Communication Manager
Telephone: 024 62769056 – 0852577220
Address: 6th floor, No 15 Yen Lang street, Trung Liet ward, Dong Da district, Hanoi