As parents and mentors, it is our responsibility to safeguard our children and to teach them how to remain safe in today’s world.
‘Children are the nation’s most precious resource. We all know that during the growing years, children do not know how to protect themselves properly. Let us take up the ownership to guide them properly and make their growing up years happy and troublefree!
According to the National crimes bureau, crime against children has risen by a whopping 52.5% from the previous year. It is important that we prepare our children mentally and physically to face the challenges of the world of today as well as tomorrow. Though we cannot monitor our children at all times, simple precautions and right guidance can protect them in any eventuality.
The world today is more complex and unsafe and there are a number of potential threats to children. The importance to educate children on threats they might encounter has become the need of the hour. Whether at home, at school, with peers, care givers or online, children are in constant touch with strangers and hence need to be sensitized about circumstances in which their physical, mental and emotional safety might be threatened or challenged. We need to educate them on how to handle these situations.
Some of the factors that contribute to the rise in crime against children include:
- Rapid increase in migrant population/ increase in city‘s population.
- Increase in the number of cases where both the parents are working and the child is left alone at home.
- Increase in the frequency and number of hours the child has to stay with a care taker.
- Lack of effective safety measures in public areas.
- Exposure to violence and aggression of all sorts e.g. through gaming / media / movies.
- Lack of stringent laws against abusers.
- Social networking, mobile phone and cyber usages.
SAFETY BEGINS AT HOME!
Home is where we teach our children primary rules for being safe and making it a part of their value system itself.
Domestic accidents are a worldwide problem and occur on regular basis. It is essential to discuss and implement some key rules and guidelines to ensure safety at home.
- Scissors, nail cutters, knives, blades, match boxes, lighters, staplers etc. must be kept in locked drawers or cupboards and if possible, at a height not reachable by children. Such sharp objects should not be left loose and stored back in shelves immediately after use.
- Children always ape their parents. Hence, if children are around, please ensure that you too are handling these items carefully.
- Keep small children away from wet and slippery floors.
- Install grills and safety locks in balconies and windows.
- Ensure stairways are well lit and have rails.
- Turn off gas stoves, burners, and any electrical appliances after use.
- Keep protective padding around sharp furniture edges and tables.
- Ensure that there are no LOOSE WIRES connected to any power socket at anytime.
- Ensure that your hot water geyser is properly EARTHED and plug point beyond the reach of children to prevent any mishap.
- Unplug appliances when not in use and seal the unused plug points. Do not leave a socket open.
- Teach the child to handle hot items safely.
- Keep all the medicines, cleaning chemicals completely out of reach of children.
- Do not leave the child unattended in an elevator, car park, basement, terrace or any secluded places near and around your house.
- Teach the child to be safe from pets. Vaccinate your pets and instruct the child not to disturb or harm the pet when it is eating or sleeping.
- Establish a no smoking rule at home. Avoid children getting affected passively.
- Teach the child not to open the door at any time for anybody they don‘t know, when alone or even if the parents are home.
- Regularly communicate with children about unusual encounters or any events that make them uncomfortable.
- Children should be taught how to lock and unlock all the doors
- Instruct the child not to reveal any information that she is alone at home if someone calls or even at school/class they might be enrolled in. Ask the child to attend the phone call, take a message and sound confident.
MANAGING CHILDREN THROUGH HOUSEKEEPERS
As both parents work, and the child is left alone with care givers, it is vital that the parents take utmost care in choosing and monitoring them.
Drivers, maids, security guards, people who deliver newspaper, milk, groceries, laundry, etc are all people whom we interact with on a daily basis. As both parents work, and the child is left alone with care givers, it is vital that the parents take utmost care in choosing and monitoring them. Given below are some ways of ensuring your children’s safety when they are with housekeepers / drivers :
- Obtain a valid identity of the housekeeper before appointing her.
- Do a reference check with the housekeeper’s relatives or from a former employee.
- Discuss discipline; what actions will the housekeeper take to discipline your child? And check whether it‘s consistent with your methods.
- Inform housekeepers about any medical conditions of the child and train them with first aid.
- Post emergency contact numbers and make sure they have access to that number.
- Give surprise visits to your house when the child is alone with the housekeeper, to ensure safety and caring of the child.
- Do not discuss any confidential information in front of the housekeeper.
- Train the children not to reveal any personal information including travel plans, being alone, vital information such as bank details, etc.
- Do not leave money or jewellery unattended.
- Know your neighbours. Often, we leave the keys or ask the neighbours to take care of the child. Before that, ensure that we have a positive relationship with them.