Parents told not to leave kids alone in parks

Muscat: In a major decision, aimed at ensuring the safety of children, the 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 parks or playgrounds”, says Article 5 of Civic Order No 32-97 on the Protection of Public Facilities.

Although the decision does not mention about 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 periods of time, even if you think that some 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 home alone for brief periods of time. When shopping with kids, keep them with you at 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 vandalized. Similarly, when the children are at a pool, beach, lake or anywhere near water, the caretakers should have 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 the water, get in the water with them”, he said.

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