How To Keep Children Safe From Harm?
Every parent worries about their children's safety but it's important to remember that most dangers can be minimized with proper awareness and suitable guidelines. Therefore it's important that your children learn about personal safety.
Teaching safety awareness to children
• Discuss with your children where they could go for help if they were lost or felt threatened – agree with them where they should go.
• Tell them the type of person they can approach for help if they are ever scared, threatened or lost. Identifying 'safe' people ( e.g. police, teacher...) with your children will give them guidance on who to approach.
• Remember that it is not always strangers that pose a threat. Teach them how to make an emergency call and make sure they always carry change.
• Ensure they know their own address and telephone number at the earliest possible age.
• Encourage them to tell you if anyone they know makes them feel strange or uncomfortable for whatever reason.
• Let them know that they should never accept a lift from anyone - even if they know them – if it has not previously been arranged with you.
• One of the realities of today's society is the pressure for children to stay home alone after school until the parents return from work. Whether they are 6 or 16, school age children need to be supervised by responsible adults.
• For decades, children were taught to stay away from "strangers." But this concept is difficult for children to grasp and often the perpetrator is someone the children know.
• It is more beneficial to help build children's confidence and teach them to respond to a potentially dangerous situation. Parents need to review all the safety tips with your children.
• Talking to children about safety also increase their understanding of the need for practicing safe behaviors and be aware of dangerous situations.
• There are many issues, potential risks and dangers that parents should consider before deciding your children's readiness of taking care of themselves at home.
• Firstly, consider your children's level of maturity. The ability to understand and practice safety skills, is also affected by age, educational, and developmental levels.
• If your children are old enough and responsible enough to be home alone without adult supervision, be sure they understand the 'Safety Essentials.'
• Give clear instructions about what to do if there's an emergency. Leave a list of trusted people that children can contact. Make sure that your children are happy about the arrangements and confident about being left alone.
Prepare children the responsibilities of self care
• Help your children establish a routine, suggest allotted times for snacks, phone calls, homework and television. Set firm rules, with clear do's and don'ts. Give them specific instructions about how to reach you.
• Post the family's emergency telephone numbers. If you are hard to reach, get a mobile phone.
• Teach them how and when to call the emergency line 999.
• Practice with them how to get out of the house or apartment in case of fire.
• Tell them to check in with you upon returning home and to keep the windows and doors locked.
• Warn them never to let anyone into the home without your permission and do not let anyone know that they are alone.
• Prepare your children for emergency such as flood or black-out. Show them where they can get the flashlight or torch.
• Teach children to know what to do if they feel they're being followed, either on foot or by car, to run to the nearest public place, or to the neighbour, relatives or police for help.
• Warn your children not to enter their home, if their house or apartment's doors or windows are opened or broken into. Tell them to get help from the neighbour or the police.
• Teach your children to be aware if anyone asks them to keep a secret, offers them gifts, money, or if they have any fears or concerns to tell you immediately.
• Call and reassure your children if you are home late.
Children's Safety Essential
• Never display key openly. Always tucked it in a safe place.
• Check in with a neighbour or call parents at work after arriving home.
• Never go anywhere without parents' permission.
• Keep all the windows and doors locked.
• Do not let anyone into the house or open the door to speak to stranger.
• Never let anyone know you are alone at home.
• Do not enter the house if the doors or windows are open or broken. Get help from the neighbours or the police.
• Never take apart or try to fix electrical things yourself.
• Call the emergency line 999 if you are in an accident. Give your full name and address and briefly state the problem.
• Let someone knows where you are going and when you will be back before you leave, so everyone knows where you are.
• Always take a friend with you when you go out. It is safer to travel in numbers
• If you are lost in a supermarket, stay where you are and ask for help from uniformed store worker or security guard. Never leave the supermarket.
• If someone in a car comes by and asks you for direction or help, turn around and walk away. Do not go up to the car. Adults should ask other adults, not children. Tell your mom or dad or a trusted adult.
Teaching Children about Strangers
Protecting children from abuse and abduction by strangers is a partnership between you and your children.
Here are some rules that parents can help your children when they are on the streets going places such as school, to a friend's house, to a store on an errand, or home or anywhere that involves them using the streets.
Instead of using fear tactics, give your children specific guidelines and information to limit their vulnerability while maintaining their ability to move freely in their everyday lives. Talk to your children about how to protect themselves against abduction and exploitation.
The safe child approach
• Help your children to understand that there is no way to tell by the way someone looks how they are on the inside. Teach them to careful with all strangers.
• Help them to understand that taking care of themselves is their first priority when they are alone.
• Tell them don't go anywhere with someone you do not know
• Don't talk to stranger and don't take anything from stranger.
• Shout "NO!" and get away quickly. Talk to a trusted adult.
Who are stranger offenders?
• Stranger offenders are people who abduct and abuse children. They view children as weak, helpless, defenseless victims who can easily be manipulated to fulfill their needs.
• Bribery, flattery, treats and request for help are common tricks they use to engage children.
• Most children are lured into a seemingly innocent situation with someone who acts like a "nice" person.
• There is no way to anticipate who these offenders are or what they will do.
• Some stranger offenders will 'hang out' in places where they have access to children, fast food restaurants, arcades, malls, movies, mini-markets, etc.
• The best defense is to keep unsupervised children away from strangers. This is first and foremost the responsibility of parents.
• Your children also need to be educated, to learn rules that will reduce their risk when adult efforts to protect them fail.
How do bad strangers try to trick children?
Tell your children to be aware of the following tricks ...
• Help Trick:
A stranger asks you to help them find a lost pet or maybe asks you or directions to get somewhere. This may be a trick, so if a stranger asks you for help, turn and run in the other direction as fast as you can and tell an adult you know as soon as you can!
• Emergency Trick:
A stranger says that there is an emergency in your family and your mom asked him to get you. The stranger may even say that your mom got hurt!
But you don't have to think about it just run in the other direction as fast as you can and tell an adult.
• Bribe Trick:
A stranger says they have some money, candy, a video game to give to you. Remember, these gifts are really bribes to get you to come closer.
Instead, run in the opposite direction as fast as you can and tell an adult you know as soon as you can!
• Animal Trick:
A stranger is holding a puppy or kitten or other animal, and invites you to pet it.
This is a trick, run the opposite direction as fast as possible and tell a trusted adult.
Teaching Children to be Street Smarts
There is no set of guidelines that can offer total safety. What parents should aim for is a sensible approach that will help your children avoid trouble. Tell your children to be careful on the streets. Your children will learn from you, to be alert!
• Walk with a group of friends or stay near other people.
• Stay on the busier areas. Walk in the middle of the sidewalk.
• Avoid abandoned or empty buildings. Never take short cuts.
• Alert to what is around them, listen for footsteps and voices nearby.
• If they see someone doing something wrong, walk the other direction.
• Do not display their cash, expensive jewelry and clothing.
• Make sure that Parents (you) know the route they are taking every day.
• Use the same route everyday going to and from school.
• When being followed by a vehicle, quickly turn around and walk in the opposite direction.
• Never talk to strangers! Tell them they don't have to answer a stranger.
• If they are in trouble, shout loudly to attract help.
• Notice stores along the way so that they can go into one of them if they need help or they need to use the phone in an emergency.
To Your Parenting Success
Empowering Children to :
Be Aware! Be Alert! Be Safe!