Child Protection Week highlights the ever-increasing need to educate our kids about staying safe while providing them with the necessary tools on how to do this.
No parent wants to give thought to scary what-ifs, the possibility that our child might need guidance on how to stay safe in life-threatening situations. But despite our best efforts, there is no place that is 100% safe.
“The reality is that our children may witness a crime despite our best efforts to keep them protected,” notes Agnieszka Gryn, general manager at Fidelity ADT’s Inland, who says that her team has come across cases where school children were mugged for their cellphones, and even more alarmingly, have been home while their houses were being robbed.
And while the GM does not believe that children should be taught to live in fear, she does advocate for parents to have an open discussion with their children about what to do in case of a crisis.
These same rules apply just as well to adults as they do to children.
Here are a few of Agnieszka’s pointers that you could teach your children about staying safe in a dangerous situation:
1. Do not antagonise the criminal
In most cases, the criminal is in a heightened state and you must make it clear that you are not a threat to them. With the exception of a life-and-death situation, fighting back must be avoided and any material possessions readily given over.
- Also see: Safety tips for parents
2. Speak only when spoken to
Do not try to engage a criminal in conversation and keep any and all responses short and to the point.
3. Make mental notes
Encourage your child to take in a lot of detail about the criminal (if possible) such as physical characteristics, clothing, the vehicle they’re in (if any), and to listen out for names or any other potential identifiers for when they talk to the police.
- Also see: Tips to stay safe while on the road
4. Remain calm
Staying as calm and quiet as possible is always best. That way the criminal can what they want as quickly as possible, warding off any potential for physical harm.
Safety tips for every day
Hopefully, your child will never need to face a crisis situation, and Agnieszka recommends the following general safety tips for helping your child spot and avoid troubling experiences.
1. Never walk alone
Your child should always walk in groups or at least with one friend, sticking to streets they’re familiar with. They must avoid shortcuts through quiet places like empty parking lots, and always keep material possessions like cell phones and iPads out of sight.
2. Wait for your lift indoors
The rule of waiting on school grounds for their lift home to arrive should always be followed.
3. Riding in cars with strangers is a no-no
Warn your child against getting into a car with a stranger who might use the ruse of an emergency or hurt parent to get a child to go with them. Tell them that you would never send a stranger to pick them up.
4. Beware of the friendly stranger
If approached by a stranger you must teach your child not to engage in conversation with a stranger regardless of how friendly they may come across, and if ever someone tries to grab them to fight back, kicking and screaming that the person is not their parent.
Has your child ever faced a dangerous situation? What happened and what was the outcome? Tell us by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.
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