A child may meet several strangers. Not all these strangers are friendly. Some of these strangers can cause serious physical and psychological harm to a child. As a caregiver, you must be aware of such dangers and ways to avoid them.
Let us understand the need for ensuring child safety from strangers. Let us also look at a few ways to ensure the safety of children from strangers.
Children are most vulnerable to strangers when they are alone; For example when walking alone to or back from school.
Getting separated from family at a public place like an airport, railway station or shopping mall also exposes a child to danger from strangers.
A child alone at home is also at risk from strangers who may visit the house at that time.
A common danger that a child faces from an evil stranger is an abduction and wrongful confinement for ransom.
Some violent strangers can hurt a child physically and emotionally. At times such acts of violence include sexual abuse. This can lead to serious psychological problems for the child.
To ensure the safety of children you must make them aware of the danger from strangers. Talk to the children openly. However, try not to scare them
First of all, explain to the child who is a stranger. A stranger is any person whom the child does not know. Also explain that a stranger can be a man, a woman, a young person, or an old person.
Tell the child that strangers are not always evil looking and badly dressed. Well-dressed and good looking strangers can be equally dangerous.
Also, tell the child about safe strangers or strangers who can be trusted. Explain that such strangers usually wear a uniform and do work that is helpful to others. Safe strangers include policemen, fire-fighters, security guards, and housekeeping staff at a facility.
Give the child a clear set of rules to follow when dealing with strangers. Once in a while, revise the set of rules with the child.
The set of rules can include instructions like: never accept any sweets or gifts from a stranger.
Never take a lift in a car with a stranger even if the stranger claims to be sent by your parents. Also, never go up to a car window to give directions.
Never go anywhere with a stranger even if the stranger asks for help to look for a lost pet or belonging.
Never play in dark and lonely places.
Never tell any stranger in person or on the phone that you are alone in the house. Never open the door to any stranger if you are alone in the house.
If you feel you are being followed, run away or enter a shop and ask for help from the first safe stranger you see.
Tell the child it is OK to shout at, kick, punch, or bite a stranger if that person tries to grab and forcibly take the child away. Tell the child to run towards a crowded place and shout for help.
Point out safe places like welcome desks and safe strangers like security guards in a public place like a shopping mall. Tell children to seek help from such safe people and places if they get lost at that place.
Help the child differentiate between good and bad touch. Tell the child that a hug from a parent, a pat on the back, or a friend's arm around the shoulder is a safe or good touch.
Tell the child that any person, whether known or stranger, should never touch the child's private parts. These parts include the child's mouth and the parts of the child's body covered by a swimsuit.
Explain that touching the child's private parts or any other touch that makes the child uncomfortable is not OK and is a bad touch. The child must say No to any such touch, run away and immediately tell a parent or a safe stranger about it.
You should also never let a stranger handle the baby, either to play or to help you take care of them.
As a caregiver, always be watchful and aware of the location of the child under your care. Being aware of the danger and staying alert can save a child from a painful experience.