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How To Keep Your Children Safer

Wong Shu Lee  


  May 31, 2022

Children are the future of our society. Every child needs love and support, nutrition, healthy environments, and guidance from a few trusted adults in order to develop. 


It is a sad reality that in situations where armed conflict breaks out, children are the most vulnerable members of societies and most affected by the consequences of war. The six most common violations are recruitment and use of children in war, killing, sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access.


International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression is a United Nations observance held on June 4 every year. It was established on 19 August 1982 originally to focus on victims of the 1982 Lebanon War, its purpose expanded to "acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse. This day affirms the UN's commitment to protecting the rights of children.


In conjunction with this day, we would like to discuss some tips for parents and caregivers to talk about basic personal safety skills with kids. Educate your children as early as possible, just as you would teach them about traffic or water safety skills. 


Be calm and reassuring


Children should learn to be cautious, alert, and prepared - not fearful. They are less apprehensive when they have the skills, information, and confidence they need to act on their own behalf.


Give permission to say “No” and tell


Tell children that if they are asked to keep a secret about touching, they can say “No,” and find a trusted adult to tell when they encounter uncomfortable and unsafe incidents. Let them know they have the right to say “No,” even to someone who threatens them or to someone they know. 


Help children identify trusted adults


Talk openly about whom a child would go to in an emergency. Cite specific examples such as a cashier at the mall, a mother with children, or a teacher.


Set body boundaries


Teach children about setting body boundaries. This can start by always asking permission before hugging or holding hands. Tell children that their private parts are the parts covered by a bathing suit. No one should touch their private parts or ask them to touch other people’s private parts. If someone does or makes them feel uncomfortable or confused, it’s okay to say “No,” and then they can tell a trusted adult. 


Teach children the buddy system


Children should learn that it is always safer to be with a friend or a trusted adult than alone.


Teach children to check with others first


Teach children to inform trusted adults before changing plans or going anywhere - even with adults that the child knows.


Teach children telephone skills


Teach them your cell phone number and to call “999” for help.


Role-play with children


Just as children don’t learn to ride a bicycle by talking about it, they don’t learn safety skills without practice. Children learn by doing. They need to role-play and see how it feels to say “No” in difficult situations.


Review and practice often


Children need to review safety skills often. Research shows that these skills need to be taught five to ten times a year. Review them during car rides and other moments together.


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