MUSCAT, JUNE 23 – In a major decision, aimed at ensuring safety of children, Muscat Municipality has warned parents not to leave their children unattended in public places. “Children under the age of 12 years are not allowed to be left alone while in parks, public places or playgrounds,” says Article 5 of Civic Order No 32-97 on Protection of Public Facilities. Although the decision does not mention any action, it definitely reminds parents that the authorities are keeping a watch on the safety of children.
“Toddlers should never be left alone, even for short period of time, even if you think that some of them are mature enough to understand the situation,” said Dr Joseph, a pediatrician. It is a common sight at public places in Muscat, especially in malls, children are left alone while parents or their guardians are busy either shopping or engaged in other activities. It’s summer and parks are the solace for children to spend their time. But often, they are found to be wandering and playing at their will. “This is dangerous. Underage kids should never be left alone, even for short periods of time.
However, children based on level of maturity can be left alone at home for brief periods of time. When shopping with kids, keep them with you all times,” advises Dr Joseph. When in the park, check the safety of the playground equipment. Look for wires or obstacles placed across slides. Make sure the equipment hasn’t been tampered with or vandalised. Similarly, when children are at a pool, beach, lake or anywhere near water, caretakers should keep a close watch on them and they themselves should be familiar with pool depths, rescue devices and potential risks. “Never leave children unsupervised. If they’re in water, get in water with them,” he said.