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Helping children stay safe and sound
By Cui Ning (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-03-28 06:09

The streets of Xidan, one of the most crowded commercial areas in Beijing, were filled with students learning to navigate and pay attention to traffic signals as a comprehensive child safety programme was launched yesterday.

Slogans like "Enhancing traffic safety awareness and upgrading self-protection ability" were daubed on a large bulletin board in Xidan Culture Square.

Officials from the ministries of education and public security, and representatives of Beijing primary school students, gathered to mark the 10th National Safety Education Day which falls today.

The day of security education for primary and middle school students falls on Monday in the last week of March each year.

Across the country 200 million primary and middle school students are joining in various activities, such as watching videos and listening to lectures on how to keep safe.

"The move aims to help students go to school happily and back home safely," said the Ministry of Education spokesman.

Picture books and leaflets were handed out yesterday to primary and middle school students in Beijing, and more will be distributed to students in other parts of the country. The books cover topics like traffic safety, fire prevention and firefighting, safety during outside school activities, prevention of food poisoning and rescue procedures following accidents.

Traffic accidents became the No 1 cause of death for primary and middle school students in China last year.

In 2004, more than 4,400 primary and middle school students were killed and more than 20,000 injured in traffic accidents.

National Safety Education Day was initiated in 1996 to help reduce the number of children killed in accidents through education.

The Ministry of Education and regional education administrations conduct school inspections each year, to ensure safety on and around campuses.

Schools and kindergartens are required to hold safety education courses for students. Most schools and kindergartens have performed well in safeguarding the health of students.

At the Huixinli kindergarten in the Chaoyang District of Beijing, for example, chefs are required to keep samples of food so that hygiene checks can be made, according to a teacher surnamed Guo.

If a child feels sick or gets diarrhoea, the kindergarten can invite hygiene experts to test the food samples so the chefs can be disciplined.

(China Daily 03/28/2005 page2)

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