Now is the perfect time to reinforce safety strategies with children and teens as we approach the holiday period.
Ideally, it is strongly recommended that primary school children should be supervised by an adult when in public. A mobile phone does not replace parents supervision. Everyone should walk so they can see and be seen. Children should be discouraged from taking shortcuts through isolated areas.
Primary and high school aged children need to learn to be aware of their surroundings and how to assess their environment.
Talk through scenarios with your children, such as missing the bus, if a phone has a flat battery, being bullied by other youths, if a stranger approaches and the dangers of skylarking or playing near the road.
If children have a phone, keep it charged and make sure they know who to ring in an emergency. All children should have at least three people they can contact if they need help.
Using your phone while out in public and wearing earphones reduces awareness of surroundings, leaving people unprepared for any potential hazards.
What can your child do if someone approaches them and they feel afraid or uneasy?
They can move away, attract attention by shouting, find an adult, run to a neighbours house, open business or phone a parent or police.
Most importantly, reinforce if something has happened to make your child feel unsafe, they should tell a parent, teacher or responsible adult and not keep it to themselves.
Learn where safe places or refuges are in your area and talk to your children about them. A safe place is somewhere you can find a person to help. It may be a neighbour’s house, a shop or service station, even a bus stop. Learn what businesses are open early and late. For example, some service stations and fast food outlets are open 24 hours.