The only person who can really keep your child safe is your child himself. Every child needs to be prepared to know what to do to keep him or herself safe. He needs to have some rules and to rehearse what he should do in certain unsafe situations. Here are some situations and some tips you can do and say to help teach your child personal body safety:
Strangers are people whom we don’t know or have never seen before. Most strangers are not bad, but it is difficult to know which ones are bad and which ones are good so we must be careful around strangers.
We don’t talk to strangers when we are alone.
We don’t take candy, money or toys from strangers or from anyone unless our mom or dad says it is okay.
We don’t ride in a car with a stranger or with anyone else unless we have permission from our mom or dad.
We don’t open the door when a stranger is knocking if we are alone in the house.
We don’t tell someone on the phone who calls that we are alone in the house.
If a stranger tries to grab our hand or arm or says come with me, we yell “HELP” very loud and if we can, run away from them and go to the nearest safe place home, school, neighbor’s house) and tell a trusted grown up what happened.
Regarding Being Lost in a Store
If we get separated from our mom or dad in a store, we look for a safe person to help us find our parent. The best person to ask for help is the cash register person or a mother with children.
If we are lost inside of the store, we do not go outside to look for our parent.
If a stranger tries to take our hand and says “come with me”, we say in a loud voice “NO, you are not my mother or father; I can help myself”.
Regarding the Touching of Private Body Parts
We should know the names of our private body parts—breasts, vagina, penis, bottom.
We don’t have to let anyone touch or look at our private body parts and we don’t have to touch or look at anyone else’s private body parts if we don’t want to.
It is OK to touch our own body parts as we have to take good care of them and keep them clean and healthy.
It is OK to ask for help from our parents if we need help to wash or wipe our bottoms or put medicine on them if they get sore.
If someone tries to touch our private body parts and we don’t want them to, there are 4 things we should do:
- say “NO, Stop That!”
- yell “Help!” if we need to
- run away from the person trying to touch or hurt us
- tell our mom or some other trusted adult
If someone touches us on our private body parts and says “this is a secret, don’t tell anyone”, we should not keep that secret. They are trying to trick us.
We are not bad if a big person touches our private body parts. The big person is bad.
Regarding the “What if Game”
The “What If Game” is played by asking questions that start with “What if”. Let your child then tell you what he would do in that situation. You may also let the child think up some of his/her own “What if” questions. This may show you some of the things he or she may be worried about. Listen to your child’s answers to the questions and see whether they would be safe things to do. If they are not, help your child think through a safer answer.
Don’t put frightening details into the questions. It may only put fears into the child’s head.
- What if you were lost in a store.
- What if someone tried to touch your private body parts, what would you do?
- What if you were alone in the house and the phone rang?
This game needs to be played on a regular basis so that your child doesn’t forget safety rules.
Include other subjects such as health, manners, cleanliness, etc. in the game so your child doesn’t become obsessed with personal body safety.
Call Crittenton’s Community Health & Education Department at 248-652-5269 for classes and programs or visit www.crittenton.com/?id=103&SID=1