With the coming of summer break, specialists call parents and society to pay special attention to the safety of children, when they spend their free time near bodies of water, play around children playgrounds and generally out in the fresh air.
«For children, summer is an especially awaited time of year – a time free from school and other responsibilities. For parents, on the other hand, their responsibility increases, because they need to plan how to make the holidays of their children consistent and safe. I would like to ask all parents and grandparents to find enough time to learn about their child’s everyday life, I would also like to remind them about safety and the unfortunate consequences of recklessness. This also applies for other members of society: do not be indifferent in situations when it seems that an intervention is necessary!», – point Minister of Welfare Ilze Vinkele.
The head of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) Laila Rieksta-Riekstina also advices to ensure the safety of children: «It is especially important during times when children leave for the summer break and tend to focus on outdoor recreation, including biking, skating and other recreational types. Unfortunately, the lack of sufficient use of safety precautions leads to different kinds of trauma, the number of which, according to doctors, has dramatically increased in the recent time.»
Parents or individuals, who have parental responsibilities can be fined up to 100 LVL or be given a verbal warning for not ensuring the proper supervision of a child up to 13 years old who either received or could have received injuries of different kind because of the lack of attention – these are the changes made by the recent amendments to the Children’s Rights Protection Law and the Latvian Administrative Violations Code. The amendments are still to be reviewed by the Saeima.
The Welfare Ministry would like to remind that supervision does not entirely mean physical presence. Supervision can be carried out by actions that guarantee the child’s safety, keeping in mind his or her maturity and the ability to claim responsibility for his or her actions: for example, parents can tell their children how to avoid potentially dangerous situations by purchasing them a special inventory to lower the chances of an injury, as well as just being in close proximity to their children if an emergency situation does happen.
Amendments to the Law were necessary to motivate parents to think more of their children’s safety, by carefully watching where their child spends his or her time and what potential dangers are there for the child. Up until now, is has been impossible to issue an administrative punishment if a seven year-old child received some injuries after parents left him alone without any supervision. Parents can be administratively punished is they leave their seven year-old child alone without adult or some other person’s, older than 13 years, supervision.
Every year, a lot of children older than seven years die in Latvia. For example, every year 70 children up to 14 years-old and teenagers 15-19 years old die from external causes – road accidents, poisoning, drowning, suffocation. In 2010, 73 administrative protocols related to leaving a seven year-old child alone without supervision and 1 598 administrative violation protocols concerning failure to provide child care were compiled.
According to the data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia – in January 2011, there were 375.2 thousand children and teenagers up to 17 years-old and 113.9 thousand children and teenagers from 7-13 years-old.