Media Release 23 December 2016
Nurses say children’s needs must come first at Christmas and New Year
The Christmas and New Year holidays are a time of excitement and summer fun for children but not when their caregivers have over indulged in alcohol and drugs and are neglecting to provide a safe and healthy environment for them.
NZNO chief executive Memo Musa says nurses deal with the impact of poor decisions by adults at Christmas and New Year, which results in young children having to hang around the hospital emergency department (ED) for hours while their caregivers get medical help. He says sadly, children themselves too often end up in ED having been subjected to violence and abuse themselves.
“A volatile home environment of drunken adults arguing and threatening violence while under the influence of methamphetamine, for example, is a cocktail of misery for children,” Memo Musa said.
“Our nurses each Christmas and New Year deal with the unhealthy state some family members present to hospital emergency departments and see the negative, ripple effect on children of these emergencies.
“Children really suffer when their parents are intoxicated and are using drugs and suffer again when the parents are hungover and tired the next day. For our little kiwis to grow, they need a safe environment and a bedtime that means they are full of beans ready to soak up the long days of summer.
“This year I put the call out to all New Zealanders to indulge in their children’s needs more than their own so that our children can refresh, revive and grow this summer in time for new beginnings in early learning centres and schools.
“The message from New Zealand’s 50,000 strong nursing workforce is, ‘don’t be a bystander, when you know the children are around unsafe adults and being neglected, step up and make sure the children are safe and cared for,” Memo Musa said.