Unintentional injuries, especially those that happen at home, are a leading cause of preventable death for children under five years old, according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). They can also cause severe disability and health problems.
Also, a report by SafeHome in 2022 found that four out of 10 parents believe child injuries could have been prevented if proper safety measures were in place. Therefore, it is crucial to take necessary precautions in our homes to protect children from harm while they explore their surroundings.
In response to this concern and driven by her passion, Adejumoke Sangolana launched “Sam learns safety”, her first book, recently in Lagos. This children’s book aims to introduce the concept of safety to children and encourage them to adopt safe behaviours from an early age.
The author, Adejumoke, witnessed the harsh and abusive conditions some children faced while growing up, and this, she said, fueled her desire to make a difference.
Initially, she believed that becoming a politician or first lady would be the path to help these children. However, her perspective shifted when her son’s innocent questions and her own experiences in the field of Occupational Health and Safety connected with her childhood passion.
Summarily, “Sam learns safety” is a compilation of short stories featuring a 5- year old curious character as the point of view. It was crafted to introduce simple safety tools and the idea of safe behaviours to children between 4 to 9 years, using the A to Z learning style.
It covers all areas from school, to home, play, and outdoors. The book combines Adejumoke’s authority as a safety professional with her natural creativity to produce a fascinating read that is both educative and entertaining – a one of its kind for children in Nigeria.
In her address at the book launch themed ‘Safeguarding the Future,’ she said: “Child safety is all about ensuring the protection and well-being of children. This book is my little contribution to ensuring a more productive society by teaching the younger generation about safety. Though first in the line of the Safe Kids Series, it is not the end goal, but a step in the journey to the fulfillment of this childhood dream.”
In addition, Adejuomke said that it took approximately two years to complete the project, from ideation to publication, with funding and time being the main obstacles. “I thought that writing a children’s book is a walk in the park; you just get pictures together and put the stories together but by the time I started, I realised that it wasn’t a walk in the park.”
Also speaking at the book launch, Lanre Mojola, the director general/CEO, Lagos State Safety Commission in his speech “Oftentimes, children are involved in accidents and get injured simply because they are oblivious to their surroundings and the consequences of their actions and inactions.”
Mojola who was represented by Oshokoya Ajoke, Director also from the Lagos State Safety Commission said “It is important that they are inspired to discover their ability to identify hazards and avoid dangers wherever they find themselves, Ajoke said. “This can be achieved using books with interesting storylines, simple words and colourful illustrations like ‘Sam Learns Safety’ that can easily catch their fancy to take well-informed and appropriate responsibility for their safety.”
Yinka Morgan, ED, Laterna Ventures, the chairperson of the occasion, recounting her experience studying the book said “I found that it’s a relevant manual for new mothers, existing mothers and those caring for newborns, and children, those managing corporate creches, private creches, school creches, early year Foundation learning, preschool, for grandmothers, grandparents, parents, for libraries and especially children’s churches.
“The book will help children to be creative, and knowledgeable, become intellectually environmentally conscious, satisfy their curiosity to broaden the minds of both children and adults and also help them make better choices very carefully; anywhere, anytime, and also any day.
Similarly, Babatunde Farinloye, the Lagos State Sector Commander, Corps Commander (CC), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), represented by Jesutomipe Mala, Route Commander, and the Youth Safety Education Officer, FRSC, Lagos Sector Command said: “We believe that Child Education is not just teaching a child, we want the children to learn how to protect themselves. As parents, we can’t be there all the time so there are things these children need to know to protect themselves.”