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A Guide For Parents

REMEMBER, while very few children are actually at risk, you should not allow your child to become vulnerable to risks that can be avoided.

The following tips will not completely protect your child, however, they will increase the level of awareness.

This page has been designed to present the information to your children in a non-threatening manner; please adopt this style as you discuss personal safety with your child. Remember to teach your children according to their age and ability to understand.

A Parent's Guide To Your Child's Personal Safety.

Always Teach Your Children
  • To know their full name, age, telephone number, area code and city.
  • How to phone long distance in an emergency, by dialing direct or with the operators assistance.
  • How to contact you, or another close relative in an emergency. How to contact a trusted neighbor, police, fire or ambulance services and when to make these calls.
  • When children are home alone they should tell phone callers that you are there, but you are busy and cannot come to the phone. The phoning party can call back later.
  • Teach your child to cut short any phone calls with strangers and hang up the telephone if a stranger continues to talk.
  • When children are home, find out the identity of the person who comes to the door, without opening the door. If a stranger is at the door, teach your children to tell the stranger that you are busy, and he/she should go away and come back later. Teach your child not to engage in conversation with the visitor. If the child feels threatened, teach him to phone in an emergency number. Emergency numbers could be your telephone number at work, that of the police or a trusted neighbor who will be home.
  • Where possible, your children should play and walk with other children.
  • Your children should always ask your permission before accepting gifts from strangers.
  • To avoid situations where strangers may approach your child alone, such as an unsupervised play area, empty lots, abandoned buildings, bushy area of parks, creeks and riverbeds.
  • To run home or to the nearest public place, or a a friend's house if someone is following or frightening your child.
  • If someone follows your child in a car, they should turn around and get away. Run home or to a friends house or the nearest public place such as a school, store, or office. Your child should also try to remember what the driver and car looked like or its license number.
  • That adults, especially strangers, rarely ask children for help in finding things, or for directions. Explain to your child that both men and women are strangers.
  • If your child becomes separated from you in a store or shopping mall, to go directly to a store employee or cashier for help.
  • That police officers who wear uniforms are their friends and that they can be trusted if your child is in trouble. It is for this reason that you should never use the police as a threat to your child. This will confuse their image of the police.
Teach Yourself
  • To provide the school or daycare center with the names of persons to whom your child may be released. Inform the school or daycare center of whom to notify if your child does not arrive at school, including an emergency number if you cannot be reached.
  • To make a quick mental note of your child's clothing each day to aid in the search if your child becomes lost.
  • To maintain up-to-date records which include a recent photograph of your child, his height and weight, medical and dental histories, and if you wish a video tape and fingerprint records. These records are valuable tools if your child becomes lost.
  • To avoid clothing and toys which prominently display your child's name. Children are less likely to fear a stranger who knows their name,
  • To interview and check with other parents to ensure all potential baby sitters are trustworthy.
  • To know all of your children's friends, their families and their phone numbers. Insist that your child ask for permission to visit his friends.
  • If your child must use the washroom in a public place, always accompany him, or ask another adult whom you trust to take him. Your child should never play or loiter near public washrooms or public changing rooms.
  • To accompany your child door-to-door activities, such as Halloween or out of the home.
  • Your children should always ask permission of you, a guardian or a teacher before they accept rides with strangers. Use a pre-selected secret code word with your child, and those whom you may ask to give your child a ride. Where necessary, change the code word with your child after it has been used for a period of time, or in those situations where it may become know by persons who do not have a need to know.

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Child Sexual Abuse

Always Teach Your Children
  • The proper name of their body parts. Teach them that certain parts of their bodies are private. Nobody has a right to touch them without your permission. Use the example of a bathing suit to help your child understand what the private parts of the body are.
  • Discuss sexual abuse in an open and sincere manner with your child in the same way as you would discuss other safety guidelines. This way you will bring this subject to your child's attention without causing any unnecessary fear.
  • Use family activities such as "what if" games that help your child think about new kinds of situations that could occur and make your child more confident of his abilities to handle those situations.
  • Continually reinforce your love and concern for your child, regardless of things that may happen to them or things they might do. This applies equally to the child's general safety and any incidence of sexual abuse.
When You Talk To Your Child About Sexual Abuse, Always Tell Them
  • "Your body is your own and you don't have to let ANYONE touch you or hurt you. "If someone does this say "NO" or "you are not my parent" and "always tell me who touched or tries to touch you."
  • "You have my permission to say "NO" or "don't touch me that way" to any person especially if that person wants to do something that makes you uncomfortable."
  • "If you get uncomfortable FEELINGS when someone does something to you or asks your to do something to them, come and tell me."
  • "Sometimes nice people-people you know-do things that are not nice. Respecting and "Obeying" adults does not mean that you have to do everything they ask. If you think what they are doing or asking is wrong, come and tell me."
  • "Some secrets-like surprise parties-are fun, but a secret that another adult say only the two of you can know is not right-come and tell me."
  • "Always tell me if these things happen to you, because I love you and I want you to be safe."
If You Suspect Your Child Has Been Abused, Let Your Child Know
  • You know what he or she tells you.
  • You are not angry with him or her and display your continued love for them.
  • He or she is not responsible for the incident, regardless of the circumstances.
  • You will do everything you can to protect him or her from further abuse by the offender.

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A Child Is Missing

A What - To - Do Checklist For Parents
  • Make a careful search of your home and surrounding properties.
  • Check with playmates.
  • Check favorite play areas.
  • Call or visit local police stations, be prepared to give the following information:
  • Full physical description
  • Birth marks or other identification marks
  • Most recent photographs
  • Fingerprint record
  • Description of clothing worn at time of disappearance
  • Medical problems
  • Recent problems at home, school, with playmates, etc.
  • Possible or probable abduction by spouse or former spouse
  • Possible runaway, because favorite clothes, possessions are missing
How Can You Become Involved In Child Safety
  • Get to know the parents in your neighborhood
  • Join the local neighborhood watch program
  • Build a home information center which includes a map of your neighborhood and its play area, and have your child identify where he will be at all times and when he will return.
  • List telephone number of neighbors and relatives whom you trust and can be contacted in case of an emergency.
  • List other important telephone numbers such as police, fire, ambulance, and explain to your child when they should be called.
  • Design a "Growth Chart" and record your child's height regularly.

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The Backseat Is The Safest Seat For All Children

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children 5 to 15 years old. A study by the National Highway Traffic Administration concluded children are safer riding in the backseat.

Airbags are lifesaving devices, but special precautions must be taken when driving children in air-bagged equipped vehicles. Children risk injury if they are unbelted, improperly belted or otherwise too close to the dashboard when an airbag inflates. To play it safe, always buckle children in the backseat.

If a child must ride in the front seat, or the vehicle does not have a backseat, move the seat as far back as possible from the dashboard and make sure the child is buckled properly.

Never place rear-facing infant safety seats in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger-side airbag. The back of the safety seat in this position is too close to the inflating airbag and the infant could be killed or seriously injured.

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Bicycle Safety

Be protected -- Always wear an approved bicycle helmet. Adult cyclists as well as children receive serious and sometimes fatal head injuries. 75% of cycle-related fatalities are due to head injury. Statistics show that 95% of the children in the U.S. own and ride a bicycle and 80% of the crashes involving children under 15 years old are caused by the children themselves. Wearing an approved bicycle helmet reduces head injuries by 85%.

Be visible -- Smart cyclists make themselves easy to see. If you are out after dark or in fog or rain, make sure motorists can see you. Use lights, reflectors and reflective tape. A bell or horn is also a good idea. Wear light or bright colors like red, white or yellow. Put an extra bit of reflective tape on the pedals. Wear reflective bands on your wrists and ankles or on the front and back of your jacket.

Obey all traffic signs and signals -- Signs and Signals are posted to protect your life and the lives of others. They must be obeyed.

Ride with traffic -- Remember-you must not ride in the middle of the road, or on the left-hand side, or weave your bike from side to side. Always be very careful when you pass parked cars. Thoughtless motorists sometimes open doors on the traffic side, right in your path. Be alert.

Ride single file on the street -- Always ride one behind the other. Do not follow too closely. Keep at least one bike length behind the cyclist ahead in case you have to stop suddenly.

Stop before riding into the street from your driveway or a lane -- Motorists may not have time to see you if you pop out suddenly.

Always walk your bike at busy corners -- It's impossible to see in all directions at once. Traffic is tricky at corners, so the safest thing to do is to dismount and walk your bike across with the pedestrians.

Never ride two on a bicycle -- Unless you have a tandem bicycle your bike was built to carry only one person. Never carry passengers on the handlebars, crossbar or seat.

No " trick riding" on streets or highways -- Trick riding on the streets, roads or highways isn't smart-it's dumb. Good cyclists don't have to show off.

Lock your bicycle -- When leaving your bicycle in a school yard, shopping plaza or other location, make sure you lock your bicycle to avoid it being stolen. Lock it with a sturdy lock or lose it!

Do:
  • Always wear a helmet
  • Wear proper clothes
  • Make sure your bike is adjusted properly
  • Check brakes before riding
  • Ride with traffic. Keep to the right of the road
Don't:
  • Show off
  • Zigzag, race or stunt ride in traffic
  • Hitch rides on trucks or cars
  • Accept Passengers
  • Carry large packages which can get in your way
  • Ride against traffic
  • Tailgate or ride too close

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Crime Prevention Tips for Children

When You Are Playing Outside
  • Stay away from curbs when you're walking, and walk with friends. People may not bother you as easily if you're with friends.
  • Let your parents or guardians know where you are going and how long you plan on being there. Tell them the route that you are going to use to get there.
  • Obey all traffic lights when crossing the street, and cross in the crosswalks.
  • Don't play near rest rooms.
  • Don't play in streets or alleys. Use our parks and playgrounds to play in.
  • Try to play in a group, with friends. You're safer in a group than you are by yourself.
  • If you get in trouble in a group, there is someone there to help you.
  • If someone driving a car stops and calls you to their vehicle. DON'T go near the car. Move away from the vehicle. If possible, try to get a look at the driver or the person who is calling you as you move away. Also try to remember the license plate, and the make and color of the car. - Always run in the opposite direction of the car; never run in the direction the car is facing. Then get to a safe place and tell an adult you trust what happened. If you see a police officer on the street, stop him or her and tell them.
  • DON'T ever talk to strangers on the street or accept anything from them such as money, candy, or even a puppy. NEVER go with anyone, even if they tell you that they are looking for a lost person or pet. Get away from that person as quickly as possible. Tell an adult or the police what happened.

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