For Parents & Caregivers
Keeping Kids Safe
Parents want to ensure their children are happy, healthy and safe. Here are some tips about how to talk to your children about safety, messages you can give to increase positive feelings and suggestions for teaching children about healthy touch.
Increase positive feelings
Let your child know s/he is a great kid! Communicate these messages regularly and you’ll help your child build self-esteem and feel good about him/herself.
- I like you.
- I love you.
- What you have to say is important.
- Listening to what others have to say is important too.
- It is important to say how you feel.
- You can make good choices.
- When you make choices, think of other people’s feelings too.
- Everyone is special.
- You can say “no” to any touch that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- All touching can be talked about.
- Tell someone if you need help.
- There are people who can help you.
- Keep telling until someone helps you.
Be open and honest with your child
Trust your children
Talk with your children about touch
Teach your children how / where to get help
As your child gets older give him/her more information
Keep talking to your children
If you need help: ASK!
Practical Safety Tips
- Take a walking tour of your neighbourhood with your child. Ask your child where his/her favourite place is to play. Check for abandoned buildings, vacant lots, unlit walkways, and creeks or rivers so your child knows to stay away from these areas. Know the route your child takes to school, to lessons, to friend’s houses, etc. Make sure your child knows not to take short cuts through alleys and parking lots. Let your child know that at any age it’s always safer to walk with a buddy.
- Discuss with your children what to do if they get lost or are in a situation where something questionable is happening (e.g., peer pressure about drugs, sex or doing something they know is wrong). If your child is old enough to go out to places with friends, make sure he/she has enough money to call you or to take a taxi home in case he/she wants to leave a situation that is uncomfortable.
- Know your children’s friends and where they gather. Determine whose house they like to go to and why (e.g.,there is no supervision, the TV/videos/computer games they are allowed to play). Meet with the parents where your child wants to sleep over. Wherever your children go, ask about supervision. Make sure you have the addresses and phone numbers of your child’s friends.
- Know how long it takes your child to walk to and from school. Have your children check in with you before they decide to go somewhere, especially if they’re changing their plans after school. Have your children check in with you when they arrive at their destination, and if there is a change in plans (e.g., they want to move on to another place). Be sure you know how to reach your children at any time.
- When your child is ready to use the bus/subway, do public transit training with your child (e.g., where the bus stop is, the right bus to take, how to read the direction signs in the subway station).
- Make sure your children know how and where to reach you at any time, or someone else they can call for help. Post your contact information where your children will see it and be sure to include: 911; your office phone number; your cell/pager number; and the names and numbers of who to contact in an emergency. Teach your children how to dial 911 in an emergency. Make sure your children know their last name, address, and telephone number.
- If your child spends time alone at home, review the “home alone rules” regularly (e.g., never answer the door; never tell callers that your parents are not home, instead, say that mom/dad cannot come to the phone and offer to take a message).
- Monitor your child’s use of the computer/Internet, and review Internet safety. Ask your child care provider and child’s teacher what their policy is with respect to taking pictures of the children, including posting them on the Internet. Make sure your children understand that no one should take pictures of them unless they have your permission.
- Never leave children alone in a car.
- Make sure that your children know that adults understand that young people break rules and make mistakes – we all do; it’s all part of the learning process. Make sure your children are aware that they can come to you no matter what, and that you will listen – their safety is the most important thing!