How to keep your child safe

Author: Harshita Mann, Director, Lancers International School, Gurugram

Both parents and carers play a vital role in a child’s life. They act as positive role-models and mentors who care about a child’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. However, looking after a child can involve many facets, his safety being one of the key things. For both parents and educationists, here are some of the most important things to remember when it comes to a child’s safety.

Speak To Your Child About Abuse – As parents and school counsellors, it’s our duty to educate children about abuse and how to identify abuse. The more they know, the easier it will be for them handle a misdemeanor or a case of bullying at school or outside. It’s also important to constantly re-assure young children that their school is a safe space and that they must report any form of bullying to their teachers, and that their teachers will do their best to resolve the matter.

Online Safety In today’s technology – driven world, bullying and abuse have taken many forms. Children have regular access to the internet and mobile phones, which are great tools of learning for them, but they can also pose a grave risk. As parents, it’s imperative that you regularly monitor your child’s use of the internet and teach them online safety skills – never to post inappropriate content online as they can never ‘take back’ what’s been posted once. It’s also important to encourage your child to tell you if they are being harassed by another online user and to always use privacy tools while posting content online.

Child Safety At Home – Home is where a child spends a substantial amount of time during the day. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that there are no poisonous substances at home. Plus, make the home environment safe to avoid any trips and falls, and also, ensure fire safety. These precautions will ensure that your child is safe and avoid all minor or major accidents that may occur at home.

Safety While Playing – Sport As parents and carers, it’s important for us to know that abuse can happen in many different environments, at home, school or even a sports club. That’s why I encourage parents to stay vigilant and ensure that every sporting activity your child is a part of is safe, including asking questions such as, what checks and safeguards has the sports club put in place to ensure the protection of every child.

Vetting of School and Home Staff – A child spends majority of his/her time at home and in school. Hence each employee in a school or at home must be vetted thoroughly. Moreover, staff members must be given proper training about how to identify abuse. This includes knowing what to do or say if you’re concerned about a particular child and his behaviour. Other than these broad aspects mentioned above, I encourage all parents to discuss your concerns with someone you trust, including a close friend, partner or your child’s school. Talking about it will help you decide the best action to take to ensure that your child is always safe.

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