Safety of Your Child
7 to 11 years old
In today’s world there are a whole host of new issues that earlier generations didn’t face while growing up. Of course no one can foresee all the possible dangers our children may face, but with a little planning we can protect them from a lot - that is what a parent is meant for. It is important that while we discuss safety, we should not create unreasonable fear or distrust. Safety is about letting a child know he/she is important and responsible.
ALONE AT HOME:
In general, it's not a good idea to leave kids home alone, but in reality it is unavoidable at times. Even if you plan supervision, it is important you have checked out the reliability of the person you are leaving your child with. The following precautions can be taken if your child is alone at home:Post a list of emergency numbers, including family members, trusted friends and neighbours, and emergency personnel.
- Make sure that your child has a way to contact you when you are away from the home, including a cell phone and/or work number. Check your messages often and promptly return your child’s calls. Teach them the reasons for which they should call you, even fears and concerns.
- Call in between and check on your child. Always call and let them know if you are running late.
- Keep a first-aid kit in the house. Teach your child basic first-aid.
- Limit the kind of cooking that can be done in the absence of adult supervision.
- When answering the phone, tell your child never to tell callers they are home alone. Tell them to say mom/dad is busy and will call them back.
- Tell your child never to let anyone into the house. Not to open the door to anybody.
- Tell them to keep the doors always locked.
- Tell them to stay in the house until parents return home. They should not invite friends over.
- If the children are coming home to an empty house, teach them to never enter the house if the doors are open or broken, or they see other signs of forced entry. They should leave and get help from a trusted neighbour.
ON THE ROAD:
As much as it is important to teach children to move around in the community independently, it is equally important to teach them how to stay safe when out. Build up your child's independence slowly. Eg. Walking to a corner shop, walking down the road to school or class etc. Precautions to teach and take:
- You should know exactly where and when your child is going out.
- Your child must know about simple road laws.
- Your child should walk with a group of friends whenever possible.
- They should stay in the busier areas. Walk in the middle of the footpath/sidewalk. Avoid abandoned or empty buildings.
- If they see someone doing something wrong while walking or an accident, they should ignore it and go ahead.
- They should never take short cuts. Sit down with them and plan a route you both know to and from the school, stores or friends’ houses, and ask your child to use the same route every day.
- When walking on the streets, they need to avoid every possible distraction. This includes not wearing head-phones or playing hand-held games.
- They should carry loose change always for a phone call if required.
- They should not accept sweets or any other items from a stranger.
- They should never walk off with a stranger no matter what he or she tells your child.(eg. Your mummy is sick; your dad has asked me to pick you etc.) Have a password known to only family members it could be any word as simple as ‘pizza’ or ‘apple’. Only if and when the stranger gives the password your child should believe.
- If a stranger grabs the child, they must do everything to stop the stranger from pulling them away or dragging them into a car - drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite, and scream. Do whatever it takes to attract the attention of others. Ask them to scream, “this is not my dad”, or “this is not my mom”.
- If they feel someone is following them, they should immediately tell parent or teacher.
- As a parent, do not encourage or show approval for wrong behaviour or breaking of rules anywhere.
USE OF INTERNET:
The easy access to internet on PCs and mobile phones increase the risk for children especially till the age of 15 years. Internet usage should be monitored at home, and blocks must be put in place for objectionable sites. Most tech people will not give their child a cell-phone or tablet till the child is at least 15 years of age. If your child is using internet:
Till the age of 13, the child should give your email id for any purpose.
They should not open emails from unknown senders; delete them immediately. Such emails may be spam. Even worse, they could be ‘viruses’ which can be very harmful to your computer.
Obey all rules of registration. Your child should not have his/her own FB account till the age of 13 years. Always have the child ‘friend’ you so you can monitor internet activity.
If your child has a ‘Whatsapp’ group through your phone, check the messages regularly.
If your child has to research on the internet for school work, you should be with him/her.
Set clear rules for Internet use.
Teach your child to never give out identifying information, such as name, address, phone number, school, etc.
Let them know that they should never respond to surveys, contests, or special offers.
They should not share their passwords with anybody except parents.
They should speak to you right away if they come across any information that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Providing children with body safety skills both empowers them with knowledge of what is good and bad touch, and teaches them skills to manage difficult situations. For this they need to know:
Teach them the difference between safe (like a pat on the back or a quick hug for something done well) and unsafe touch (any touch that makes a child uncomfortable.)
Teach them that it is never all right for someone to touch, look or talk about one’s private body parts except to keep them clean and healthy.
It is never right for someone older or bigger to ask the child to touch, look or talk about their private body parts.
If someone tries to break this rule, your child should say "NO" and run away.
If the child is feeling uneasy or uncomfortable about someone giving them a hug, or kiss or touching them in any way, don’t pressurize them to do so.
Teach them to tell you if an older person ever asks them to keep a secret. Tell them there is no secret from parents at any age.
Teach them privacy at the time of bathing or using the toilet or changing clothes.
Teach them not to allow anyone to take pictures or videos of them if it makes them uncomfortable or if anyone shows them pictures or videos that make them uncomfortable, and to come and tell you about it immediately.
Encourage your children to talk to you about their day, every day. About new people they met or any new experience they have had.
Tell them they should not be afraid to talk to you about anything.
Be a good listener - If your child says something that causes concern to you, calmly use questions to draw them out. If your child does not want a certain babysitter, or they feel uncomfortable about some uncle/aunt or any other relative, ask why?
As parents, there are some responsibilities we have to observe:
Do not allow your child to drive 2-wheelers or cars before they are 18 years.
Do not give expensive gadgets or excessive money to your child.
Do not allow them to watch movies/TV programs that show adult content.
If someone complains about your child, do pay heed.
Do pay attention to what teachers have to say about your child and work with them.
Above all, teach children to obey and respect all rules wherever they are!