Isabel Guerreiro Darlington had a serious accident in June 2011, and nearly died. This inspired her to write a safety book especially for children called Sam + Sue Share Their Family’s Safety Rules With You. CHARLEEN CLARKE reports that it’s a wonderful book that should be read by families all over the globe.
Guerreiro Darlington’s book was inspired by a terrible accident. “I fell down some stairs at our home in Austria and ended up in an induced coma with multiple fractures of my face and skull, followed by months in hospital and numerous brain surgeries. While lying in hospital I thought about how many times I have seen people running up and down stairs, carrying babies in their arms. I wondered if they realised that they could trip, fall and be seriously injured.
“I decided that I would write a rhyme book for children, which would share some of the safety rules [to follow] at home. Most importantly, I wanted to emphasies the safe use of stairs. Having two wonderful granddaughters, I wanted them to learn from this book as well, since they’re so close to my heart,” she tells SHEQ MANAGEMENT.
It was her first attempt at writing a book – and it was no easy task! “It took a number of years to finish and it was much harder than I thought, but I have received some positive responses and therefore I am inspired to write a second. Maybe next time around Sam and Sue will share health rules at home,” Guerreiro Darlington reveals.
Despite its youthful target market, the book has already been well received by people of all ages. “I aimed the book at children aged four to eight. However, some adults have told me that reading the book to their children has improved their own understanding of how to look at safety at home and in their lives in general. I have also been informed that the book is doing its rounds at a retirement village in South Africa!” she says with a chuckle.
Guerreiro Darlington hopes that the book will change lives. “I realised how my accident had a massive effect on my family. As a result, I wanted to derive some sort of benefit from my experience. If the book saves the life of one child or a parent, it will have been more than worth it. Even today, when I see children running up and down stairs or standing on the back seat of a car, I get cold shivers down my back in fear,” she says.
Various aspects of family life are covered in the book – from safety in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom to safety while gardening, cycling and shopping. Of course, safety on stairs is highlighted, too.
With companies focusing on family safety as part of their overall safety and health efforts, the book makes a wonderful gift, which employees and customers alike can share with their families. Guerreiro Darlington believes that it could also be useful for teachers of children at nursery schools (we most definitely agree).
Because the SHEQ MANAGEMENT team is made up of grown-ups (who, admittedly, sometimes behave like children), we decided to give the book to two children – sisters Jiya and Ahana Ramachul, aged seven and three respectively – to review. They were unanimous in their praise of the book, noting that their dad could learn a thing or two from it as well (apparently he doesn’t wear safety glasses when cutting the grass). They have a quad bike and told us that they could learn a great deal from the section on bike safety. They also loved the fact that a dog and a fish feature in the book, because they also have these pets. It was clear that they could relate to Sam and Sue, and learn from the book’s two characters.
Sam + Sue Share Their Family’s Safety Rules With You costs R80 plus postage. Order your copy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For an extra charge, a company logo can be added to the cover of the book.