Safety tips for parents to secure children

2018-06-07 06:02

During Child Protection Week, from Mnday 28 May to Sunday 3 June parents have been urged to take responsibility for the security of their children.

The abolitionist William Wilberforce said: “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

These are the sentiments of a local organisation­.

“Children need to be protected at all costs. This is a fact and the natural response for many is that it is a ‘no-brainer’.

“Unfortunately we live in a world where the exploitation of children is an everyday occurrence, where children being harmed no longer shocks us and where not everyone is concerned with protecting them and keeping them safe,” says a statement released by Stop Trafficking of People (STOP).

In light of this, they have released the following tips­:

. Consider replacing any personalised items like rucksacks, lunch boxes and other items that visibly show off your child’s name to people they don’t know.

. Make up a family code word. If you have sent someone to pick up your child, they should be aware of what the code word is so your child will know not to leave with anyone who does not.

. Alternatively, if your child is at a friend’s house and somebody or something is making them feel unsafe, they can call you and say the code word so you can get them out of that situation.

. Say no to body secrets. When a child is sexually abused, they can often be told not to tell their parents about what has happened to them, and to keep it a secret between them and the abuser. Teaching your children to never keep ‘body secrets’ is important and they should know to tell you immediately if somebody has touched a part of their body and asked them to hide it from you.

. Tell your child that if they are being followed or chased by somebody, that they should start running in the opposite direction to the car. Doing this will buy them a few crucial moments, to hopefully get away, as the suspicious car turns around.

. If your child is feeling lost or unsafe, there is no guarantee that there will be a friendly shop owner or police officer around to help. The next best thing is to tell them to find a mother/woman with children if they are in danger or alone.

. Tell them that if a stranger tries to take them, all manners are out of the window and they are allowed to hit, scream and make a scene in order to attract attention. Tell them to not stop until someone starts paying attention­.

. Teach them the key emergency numbers like police (10111), Childline (08000 55 555) and others.

The organisation says they do not want to raise unnecessary panic, but would rather hope these few tips help to equip children to stay safe should they need it.

For more information or safety tips visit www.stoptrafficking­.org.za

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