Child Safety: How to train your child to be safe during emergencies
As a child, I remember mom telling me of an actual incident that happened decades ago ‘somewhere’. A man’s wife & son were ‘picked’ up from the home & school, respectively, by a person without any difficulty. And then the ‘picking up’ resulted in a rape & a murder. Both the victims were tricked into believing a stranger, who claimed that the husband (father) had met with an accident & was rushed to a hospital where he was probably counting his last breaths. Both the mother & son gave in to the panic & were so easily clawed by this predator. So here was the case where IMPULSE overpowered INTUITION. This happened around the late 80’s when dialing the right person from your mobile wasn’t the first thing that struck you. But again, absence of technology shouldn’t be a reason to shut your prudence up. Right? I still feel jittered, reading & hearing about such incidents day in & day out. Especially with children. What are we, as parents, doing about CHILD SAFETY?
Children are the most gullible & hence vulnerable beings, if not trained even minimally. Well, yes, your kids may be smarter than you in your childhood. But so have social & sexual predators gotten more clever at their modus operandi. And this certainly calls for training our kids to keep themselves safe during such panicky or emergency situations. Here are a few SIMPLE THINGS you need to work on with your kid to maximize child safety.
By 2 years of age:
Try to teach your son/daughter to say the names as clearly as possible. Not just his/her name but also either of yours (you or your spouse) along with the surname. Surprisingly, many young abducted children have been able to be traced only because the perpetrator underestimated their ability to recall the names/surname of parents.
However, REMEMBER NOT to pressurize or ground your kid into reproducing the name(s) by force. Neither is it advisable/necessary to threaten them into learning these in order to ‘protect’ themselves from a bad ‘Uncle’ or ‘Aunty’ who might try to ‘kidnap’ them. Such negative facts can be hugely detrimental to children’s mental growth below 2 years. They are just trying to explore their social ambience, that they believe, is only good or neutral. But not BAD.
2-3 years of age:
If your child finds himself/herself lost in a park, mall or anywhere, communicating your phone or vehicle number or address to a trustworthy adult can help you guys.
In the meanwhile, empower them appropriately about subtly educating them in the conforms of sex abuse. Let them know that you & your spouse will always believe them if they come to you calling a person out who touched or behaved with them in a sleazy or uncomfortable manner.
Millions of young & innocent hearts are being tattered by sexual abuse, often by known people. Some have never beaten the fear & thousands are living with it forever.
Nevertheless, no matter how bizarre it may seem, age-appropriate sex education becomes your responsibility as a parent. Because, hesitation may be momentary, but regrets can last for life. And when channeled properly with a good rapport with your child, sex education is just like any basic life lesson you’d give him/her during your candid conversations.
All the more, instruct your kid not to let any stranger photograph him/her without your knowledge/permission. There’s no harm in convincing your child that photographs/videos can be manipulated in ways that can put them into unwanted or embarrassing situations.
If possible, ask your tiny partner to guide you through routes to home, supermarkets, park, school or any place that’s a regular thingy. Knowing to navigate is another powerful tool to child safety. I must admit, I was really bad at this! 🙁
NO means NO!: The most powerful weapon
Teach them about consent. Tell them that nobody on earth, (even Ma & Papa) can touch, cuddle or caress them if that makes them uncomfortable at that moment. And that they’re supposed to show strong resistance or run from the place.
Also instruct them over not giving in to any person’s insistence (even if it’s the father’s/mother’s friend/colleague) to pick them up from school on any pretext if they are not authorized to do so by you or the school. No matter what.
Child safety is not just relegated to crossing roads, riding a bicycle on the streets or child-proofing your house. Is it?
What do you do to ensure child safety of your little darling?