Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do you tell your children about keeping safe?

Children need to know that if they feel unsafe or uncertain in any situation they should talk to a trusted adult. They need to know what to do and who to go to for help.


2. What are the risks to your child?

Statistics show that many more children are molested, abducted or killed by people they know than by strangers. Children of every age, gender and race are vulnerable to child abduction. Practice safety skills with your child so that they become second nature.

Safety at home and in the neighbourhood are issues that need to be talked about. Check your home for any dangers to your child. Do you have a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm? Are there any electrical dangers? Are medicines kept in a safe place? Who has access to your home and do they represent any risks?


3. At what age do children need to know about Stranger Danger?

Children as young as 3 or 4 may begin to have an awareness of what it means for someone to be a stranger and to understand why they should not trust them.

Parents may be concerned about frightening their children by discussing this topic at too early an age. However, most children are now bombarded with media images of missing children and may be reassured by a calm, rational approach to a potentially terrifying subject.


4. What should you do if your child is home alone?

Tell your child to lock the door and not answer any callers. Make sure they have your phone number and that you have written down the number of a trusted neighbour near the phone. It is sometimes helpful to leave a key with a neighbour or place one in a key box so they can come to the aid of your child quickly if they are needed.

4a. What if someone knocks or rings the bell?

Pre-arrange with your child what they should do if someone knocks. Tell them to check who it is if they can. If unsure – tell them not to open the door, and to phone you to check.


5. Should they answer the phone?

No. Tell them to check who it is by letting it go to answer phone.


6. What if you lose your child in a shop?

Don’t panic - go and tell the closest member of staff or an enquiry desk, listen carefully to any public address announcements and alert the shopping centre’s security staff.


7. How safe is my child when I’m not there?

Talk to them about who they can trust if they need help - such as an uniformed Police Officer or a teacher and how to have the confidence to trust their instincts if they have a bad feeling about a place or person. It helps for them to be aware of their surroundings and to learn to be assertive. Discuss rules such as never going anywhere alone and always to tell you and ask permission when they go somewhere.


8. How would I know if my child was being abused?

Encouraging family members to be open with each other will mean that a child is less likely to feel obliged to keep a secret if something does happen. Look for signs as listed on the ‘What you need to know' page in the Personal Safety section.


9. At what age can a child be left alone?

The law does not set a minimum age at which children can be left alone. However, it is an offence to leave a child alone when doing so puts him or her at risk. You should discuss safety and have strategies in place so that the child would know what to do when home on their own.


10. Should I allow my child to go out on his / her bike without me?

They should be old enough to know and implement the Road Safety Rules and preferably have completed a Safe Cycle course. They should always wear a helmet. They should always tell you where they are going, with whom and the time involved. Make sure your child is always visible, wearing appropriate reflective clothing when walking or cycling, especially during the winter months and wet weather.

Statistics show that 130 children are killed and up to 5000 are injured on the roads each year, on average.

82% of children don’t wear helmets.


11. What advice would I give my teenager on a night out?

DON’T GO OUT ALONE. There is safety in numbers. This rule isn’t just for little children, it applies to teens, too.

ALWAYS TELL AN ADULT WHERE YOU’RE GOING. Letting someone know where you’ll be at all times is smart. If you’re faced with a risky situation or get into trouble, your family and friends will know where to find you.

SAY NO IF YOU FEEL THREATENED. If someone - anyone - touches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to say no. Whether it is pressure about sex, drugs, or doing something that you know is wrong, be strong and stand your ground. You can download the checklist in ‘What can you do?’ on the parents' section, to discuss with your teenager.