By Sifu Lawrence Hochobeb
DAILY we listen to and read news reports about missing children or kids being abused and raped. Child safety tips can help to prepare your child for the outside world. Unfortunately children cannot trust strangers anymore and parents have to make sure that children know how to help, act and respond in a threatening situation.
How can you ensure your child’s safety?
It is impossible to accompany your child everywhere he/she goes. Children often travel alone (or with friends) to school and need time to play outside. Unfortunately, places such as parks or places where kids go to play are also popular places for child molesters. Compose safety tips for your kids and tell them how to respond and what to do in potentially dangerous situations, as this will give your child pointers to act if they ever find themselves in danger.
Plan in Advance
Knowing where your children are, what they are doing and with whom helps to create a safer environment for them. They should know how to contact you at all times and if they are at an age where they can handle a cellphone, teach them how to use it. Pre-programme emergency numbers into the phone and teach them to always call you if they are to be late.
Some safety tips for children:
Your child should always check with you or the person in charge before they go anywhere, even with someone they know.
Teach your children about the various types of tricks employed by criminals.
Let them know that speaking to an adult who suddenly appears or who wants them to come along to some place should not be trusted. With your child’s safety potentially at risk, telling them to walk/run away or calling for help is most important. Get your child to be familiar with police uniforms. Being able to recognise a uniform will help when a child is looking for help. Teaching children to remember emergency phone numbers is also crucial. This numbers can be displayed next to the house telephone or on the fridge.
Teach the fine line between when to respect an adult and when to back away.
It can be difficult for children to judge a situation. Tell them to listen to their instinct too, if something makes them nervous or uncomfortable. It is better to walk away or call for help. Knowing when to trust an adult and when to walk away can be one of the hardest things for a child to do and criminals often spend a long time on winning a child’s trust before they strike.
Basic survival skills could help if a child ends up in a potentially dangerous situation.
As kids are not as strong as adults, they have to be smart. Teaching a child what the weak points of the body are and what to aim for can help give a child a few extra minutes to run from a threatening situation.
Let your child know their house number, street name and the suburb where they live, home and your work phone numbers, cellphone numbers and the numbers of your closest friend or relative. They should know where you work and your real name (not nickname). The issue here is that probably at work you are not known by the nickname.
Tell your child to always confirm with you or another adult they trust before accepting gifts or favours from anyone – and never to accept anything from a stranger.
Teach them that it is OK to say NO to anyone who does or says anything that makes them feel uneasy or uncomfortable.
Your child should never be afraid to tell the truth about anything that scares or worries them.
We as parents have a duty to instil in our children principles to live by and to teach them how to look at the world from that perspective. When different situations arise, they can then respond to each one based on those principles.
Sifu Lawrence Hochobeb is the Founder and Chief Instructor of Namibia Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy.