Although we would love to magic a protective bubble for our children so they never get hurt, the reality is, well, we can’t.
But simply equipping them with the knowledge of what to do in a potentially dangerous situation could mean the difference between life and death.
Here are the important rules to teach your child from a young age to help them stay safe.
“Ask for the code word”
Have a code word that you pass on only to people you trust with your child. Tell your child if someone doesn’t know the code word, do not go with them under any circumstances, even if they say they know mummy and daddy.
To help, don’t buy any personalised bags, accessories or clothing, as that will give a stranger your child’s name, meaning they will be more likely to trust them.
Tell your child that if someone who doesn’t know the code word tries to take them anywhere, they should kick and scream and cause a fuss to draw attention. Tell them to shout, “Who are you? Help!” or “I don’t know you, where’s my mum and dad?” so people know it’s not just a tot having a regular tantrum.
“If anyone touches your private parts, tell me”
Unfortunately it’s not just strangers we have to worry about; children are much more likely to be abused by someone they know.
Point out what parts of their body are private and explain that if anyone touches them there they must tell you no matter what. Even if they are told to keep it a secret.
Explain it’s not their fault and nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s something that mummies or daddies need to know about.
Also if an adult or older child hurts them or bullies them, tell them you can help put a stop to it but only if they tell you.
“Find a mum if you get lost”
It happens to the best of us: you take your eyes of them for five seconds and the next time you look, they’ve gone. Thankfully, nine times out of 10, you’ll find them in the chocolate aisle of the supermarket or under the table next door eating dropped bread off the floor, but sometimes they wander further than that and panic hits.
Make sure your child knows who they should go to for help should they get separated from you. Teach them what the police look like, and each time you enter a supermarket or restaurant, for example, point out the uniforms that the employees are wearing.
If there’s no police or friendly employee around to help, tell your child to look for a woman with young children. Chances are a mum will empathise and do what they can to help a lost child.
As above, though, tell them they are not to go anywhere with them, as they are still a stranger. Instead tell them to say that you can’t find your mum or dad and to give them your phone number. If they’re too young to memorise this, put a piece of paper with your phone number written on it in their pocket and tell them to give that to the mum so she can call you and tell you where you are.
What safety rules do you teach your children? Let us know in the comments section below.