Safety Tips for Children: Keeping Your Loved Ones Safe
In today’s world, crime is on the rise, and it’s essential for parents, caregivers, and au pairs to teach children about safety, especially during the festive season.
The following safety tips are crucial for children to know and understand to keep themselves safe in any situation:
Child Safety Tips:
- Know their full name(s), their parent’s names, their address(es) (if parents are divorced) and phone number(s).
- Tell their parents about things that make them feel scared, uncomfortable or sad.
- Understand the difference between a good secret and a bad secret. A good secret is fun to keep, such as a surprise party, while a bad secret feels bad to keep and makes them feel scared.
- Never tell strangers their name(s) or where they live.
- Use the buddy system and avoid walking or playing alone outside or in public places.
- Scream “No!” and run to tell a trusted adult if they feel unsafe.
- Keep a safe distance (approximately three arm lengths) from strangers and strangers’ cars, even if a stranger seems friendly.
- It is okay to scream and fight to get a stranger to let go. Screaming is the most important thing they can do, especially screaming “No!”, “Help!”, or “Danger!” to get an adult’s attention.
- Keep all the doors and windows locked when they are at home alone and go to a neighbor and call 10111 (South African Police Number) if a window is broken or if the door is open when they get home.
It’s also important to teach children about internet safety, as they may be more susceptible to online predators and cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is a growing concern among children and teenagers as technology continues to advance and more young people have access to the internet. It involves the use of technology, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, to bully, harass, or intimidate someone.
It can be just as harmful as traditional bullying, if not more so, as it can follow a child 24/7 and can be anonymous. Being able to recognise the signs that a child is experiencing cyberbullying is crucial in helping them to get the support and assistance they need.
Educate them on the importance of not sharing personal information online, not talking to strangers online, and not meeting up with people they’ve met online without adult supervision.
Warning Signs of Cyberbullying:
- Sudden change in mood or behavior, such as becoming withdrawn or anxious
- Avoidance of online activities or social media platforms
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises or cuts
- Difficulty sleeping or changes in appetite
- Reports of being bullied by someone online or receiving hurtful messages or comments
Personal Boundaries with Children
Another safety tip to keep in mind is teaching children about personal boundaries and consent. They should understand that their bodies are their own and that no one has the right to touch them without their permission. It’s also important to teach them about appropriate and inappropriate touching and behaviour.
In addition to these tips, parents, caregivers, and au pairs should also have open and ongoing conversations with children about safety. This will ensure that they are aware of potential dangers and know what to do in case of an emergency. It’s also important to have a plan in place for different situations, such as getting lost in a public place or an emergency at home.
It’s crucial for parents, caregivers, and au pairs to teach children about safety. By educating children on the importance of personal boundaries, internet safety, and what to do in case of an emergency, we can help keep our loved ones safe and secure.
NB: It’s important to have open and ongoing conversations with children to ensure they are aware of potential dangers and have the tools they need to stay safe.