18 April, 2009


Security for Children

POLICE EMERGENCY? Dial 999 on any phone and ask for POLICE. You will need to give your name and phone number.

Statistics show that children are no more vulnerable to hurt, accident and abuse than they ever were - despite screaming newspaper headlines. Some parts of society have become more of a threat to child safety (increased road traffic for example) and others less (far fewer open fires in homes, more smoke detectors). We have all seen those headlines so here are some tips to help keep your child safe

Safe as Houses?
Well, maybe not. Most accidents happen in the home. Those under 5 (and over 65) are the most likely to have them. 3 million home accidents a year require hospital treatment (and they are not all DIY hammer thumbs or heads stuck in saucepans)! One million of these accidents are children under 15. So take care, it can be mean on and off the streets.

fire alarmSecurity In The Home - FIRE! Be Alarmed!
A key home lifesaver is a SMOKE ALARM. Get one (their cost is subsidised and should be less than a fiver) and fit it. At the top of the stairs, if you have stairs, or in the hall between bedroom & kitchen if not. Then take a good look at this fire safety website, (children's pages appear first)

website Web site: Fire Safety

Security In The Home - ACCIDENT! Be Safety Conscious
The best way to keep your child safe in the home is to think ahead. Like 'defensive driving' a little thought about what might go wrong in a situation (room, etc) will go a long way to prevent it. Are those boiling pans safe on top of the stove, or could they be tipped over? Are electric plugs protected or open to little fingers? What if your child gets out of bed after their rest - is the stair gate in place? It sounds obvious - and to a degree it is, but a little defensive thinking can save an awful lot of hurt and heartache.

There is a good list of things to watch out for on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents website here:

website Web site: RoSPA

Home And Community
You may find useful some advice on fire safety, safety in the kitchen and keeping safe from child abuse, plus advice on using fireworks safely. There maybe something you haven't thought of checking like always accompanying children to answer the door or the telephone in the home...

website Web site: Directgov - Safety Advice to Parents

Defence Estates Housing In Base Ports (Administers family quarters)
DE will supply some safety items (playpens, safety gates, etc) as standard furniture. Click below for details:

Download Downloadable File:  This page is currently being updated. Please check back at a later date.

SJA LogoCan you give First Aid?
You may be the only one there. Could you stop bleeding? Help clear choking or deal with a severe burn? A First Aid course will teach you all of these things. They are not hard and only usually take up a few evenings. It is well worth it. Click here for some more information.

website Web site: St. Johns Ambulance

Sadly children are still sexually, physically and emtionally abused, most commonly in their homes, or the home of someone they know and by someone the wider family trust. The NSPCC has a lot of helpful advice if you suspect a child is being abused. There are some pages of child-related material here too.

website Web site: NSPCC - Domestic Violence

website Web site: NSPCC - Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse

Download Downloadable File: NSPCC - "Hands Off" Explanation for Young People (PDF)
To view the PDF file (Portable Document Format), you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader®. Click here  to get your FREE download of the software.

ROSPAStreetwise - Playing Outside
Outside the home the biggest killer is the car. It is a lethal weapon. Don't let your children play outside a secure yard or garden if under 5 years old.

If older make sure they are absolutely clear on the real dangers of traffic (see below) before letting them out, and know where they are by looking, as often as possible. In all cases you must be around and available in case something happens. Leaving a child alone 'when exposed to risk' is a criminal offence.

Children must know when out "NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS". This includes accepting gifts of any kind or lifts in cars. It also includes talking to significantly older children they don't know and accepting gifts (drugs? shoplifted items?) from them.

You can't insulate your child from everything no matter how much you might want to. Once again - as with inside the home - think ahead and think DEFENSIVELY.

website Web site: RoSPA, Play Safety

ThinkOn The Roads
Ensure children's names are not easily readable on clothes, bags etc by strangers. Tell them to at least walk in pairs, use busy routes, and use only play areas at school or those known to you. These two sites will give you all you need to know about safety in road traffic:

website Web site: Think Road Safety

website Web site: Hedgehogs (for children)

And one for drivers too:

Download Downloadable File: RoSPA, Driving to Work (PDF)
To view the PDF file (Portable Document Format), you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader®. Click here to get your FREE download of the software.

Going To School
The school acts 'like a parent' when your child is there and has strict safety standards and Health and Safety at Work codes to follow. So they probably are as safe there as they can be. Make sure the school has your home and mobile number, if you have one, in their book and don't forget to tell them when it changes, so they can get hold of you if they need to. This is important for all sorts of reasons, obviously, but especially as no teacher can give your child any medical treatment without your permission. This includes use of aspirins or sticking plasters.

If you make arrangements for someone else to collect your chid from school make sure the school knows of your nominated person, and always arrange for your child to be accompanied by a responsible adult or other children.

School Trips
These are a valuable part of your child's education (and often feel like it in your wallet!) and are governed by strict safety guidelines. The very few that go wrong hit the headlines and are terrible but many thousands every year pass off as real, safe, learning adventures. You will almost certainly be asked to give permission for any trip out, except for the most routine and local ones. Then is the time to mention any concerns. You can be sure you won't be the only one! Follow the link below for (very) full details from RoSPA again - includes school minibus safety:

website Web site: RoSPA, Safety on School Trips

If you think your child (or someone else's) is being bullied it may help to look at these links:

website Web site: Directgov - Bullying

website Web site: Childline

Visiting friends
If your children want to visit other friends it is important that they get used to telling you first rather than going off and then explaining later. If they get this 'tell first' as a habit when small (say, if going next door for tea) then you will be a much happier parent when they get a bit older! They will expect to have to tell you first and will worry if they have not said where they are going and when they'll be back. There will still be some anxious moments for you, but not nearly as many!

So: you need to give permission. Children are minors and under a parent's control. Ask for the name of the person the child is going with, where they are going and for how long. Even if the child has a mobile phone, ask for a contact number of an adult at the place they say they are going. Knowing you have this helps the child stay safe. Children are easily distracted and may not mean to wander off, but knowing you can phone up to check on them helps them stick to their plans.

Talk over times with them. Be reasonable about times but be absolutely clear. Explain if you cannot be reasonable: "You must be back by six because the baby sitter is coming and we are going out" and then insist they are back on time, never later. This is not only for your peace of mind (now and later on) but a vital lesson for their future life and career.

Surf on Safe Turf
The key to keeping children safe on line is to stay involved. Leaving them alone for long stretches (while you watch the TV, say) is a sure fire way of letting them wander. So here are some safe surfing tips.

  • Use your Internet Service Provider's age access software (usually called Parental Control) to set age limits for sites they can see, but remember it is not foolproof!

  • Find some good sites for children yourself. There are lots of really good ones and most reputable ISPs have good user-friendly base sites with children's pages linked to them.

  • Talk over the sites you have found and what you are happy for your children to see. Tell them not all sites are safe to visit. Set agreed limits and check they stay inside. If they stray - turn the computer off. Keep it that way for a day or two until they get the message.

  • Put the computer in a living room so you can watch what is watched.

  • Set a time limit (1 hour, 2, etc) so they don't become net slaves.

  • If you are happy for your children to chat on line make sure they know NEVER to give out personal details, in on-screen forms or any other way, (school, phone number, address, age, name, sporting activity - any of these) and only to chat in moderated chat rooms with ISP rules they and you know everyone must keep.

  • Friends made online can be met ONLY if you go too. It is very easy to pretend to be someone else on the net.

  • Tell your children not to accept gifts online; they are usually scams, cons or worse. Unearned or unexpected prizes must be treated the same way (they are a sales ploy). Just delete. Do not complete any forms, even for stunning prizes.

If obscene material does appear they must tell you at once. Annoying or nasty material - delete and report if possible to the ISP. These people are after a reaction. No response usually makes them go elsewhere. Your children must, of course, not send this kind of material to other users even if they think it funny.

Most Internet search software keeps a 'history' of sites visited so if you agree with your children that you will be the only one to delete this then you will automatically have a record of sites visited. If suddenly the 'history' file starts disappearing accidentally - get suspicious!

website Web site: Think-U-Know

website Web site: Parents Online

website Web site: NSPCC

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