What Can You Do?

Keeping children safe

Keeping children safe is a priority for most parents. The majority of families provide a happy and secure home for children. When children are abused  and neglected it is shocking. If you have concerns about a child you may feel that you don’t know what to do for the best. You may feel that any action you take may make things worse. You may worry that your actions might cause the family to be split up and the children put in care.

It is important that you take action

The NSPCC reports that every 10 days a child dies at the hands of their parents or carers.

Taking action can transform children’s lives.

As a parent

  • You can learn about how to help your children develop and how to build healthy relationships.
  • Try to listen to your children and understand what they are saying and doing.
  • Have a friend you can turn to when you are getting stressed and try to have some time to yourself - all parents will get stressed now and again!
  • Determine not to ‘cross the line’ and cause hurt to your children.
  • Contact Parentline Plus if you need help and advice of things are beginning to get to be too much for you.
  • Contact the NSPCC or social services if you are concerned about your child’s safety.

Teach your child

  • How to keep safe in and out of the home.
  • To learn their full name, home address and telephone number from the age of two or three.
  • To always ask you (their parent or carer) before they go out alone or leave with another person.
  • Never to keep a secret they feel uncomfortable about.
  • Never to do anything they don’t want to with an adult or an older child even if they know them well.
  • To always use a door chain when answering the door.
  • When home alone – not to tell any telephone callers they are alone.
  • How to help other children who tell them they are suffering abuse by encouraging them to tell a trusted adult.

Advice to give your teenager

  • When out and about make sure your parent/carer knows where you are and what time you expect to be back.
  • Fully charge your mobile and have important numbers ready to use (Parents/carers, friend, taxi).
  • Set up an emergency password. This can be used if you need help. It can be a simple phrase like, ‘I forgot to turn my straightner off!’
  • Keep any valuables out of sight – including your mobile until you need to use it.
  • Use well known taxi companies. Do not get into mini cabs or private hire cars touting for business.
  • In an emergency don’t be afraid to call 999. For other help from the police you may call 101.
  • Do not accept unorganised lifts or take a lift with someone you have just met.
  • If a car stops and you feel threatened by someone scream and shout and get away quickly. Go to a crowded place.
  • Take care of your bag or wallet – if you have one – keep them close to your body. Do not put wallets in your back pocket.
  • Keep keys safe but somewhere where you can get to them quickly.
  • Stay with your group of friends. Go out with friends and return home with them. Take care of each other.
  • On buses late at night sit near the driver.
  • Get off the bus quickly and go straight home.
  • Stay in well lit areas. Walk confidently and purposefully.

 

 

Babysitting

Babysitting is a good way for young people to earn some money and to develop responsibility and learn some skills. However, being in charge of children is a very responsible role and young people must be as prepared as possible.

If your child is keen to baby-sit they should start with younger siblings or close friends and neighbours. They should have the parent or carer close by until they are sure they are able to manage the children.

The children must be told that the sitter is in charge.

They must always have:

  • contact details for the parents to hand
  • important phone number near the phone such as the family doctor, grandparents, neighbour.

 

Advice for your teenage babysitter

Remember that you can always call your own parents for advice if you are concerned about something.

Be prepared by taking a First Aid course but if there is an emergency do not hesitate to call 999.

Once you are sure that you can confidently look after your charges it is important to consider your own personal safety.

Talk about potential problem situations with your parents and how to avoid them or deal with them.

Avoid requests for an overnight job or work with a parent who arrives home drunk or late.

If you feel uncomfortable or threatened by older siblings, neighbours or others, call for help. Your own parents can come and fetch you quickly. They will call the children’s parents for you. 

Babysitting will not be easy, but it should be fun, be creative and give the children some fun experiences with a new friend.