As parents, your main goal is to keep your little one safe and sound. So here are some safety tips for new parents to keep in mind.
Neighbourhood Safety Tips for Parents
- Work together with your neighbours. Watch out for suspicious and unusual behaviour in your neighbourhood. Get to know your neighbours and their children so you can look out for one another. Take advantage of our Walk Your Block and Block Party program.
- Choose a safe house in your neighbourhood. Pick a neighbour’s house where your children can go if they need help. Point out other places they can go for help, like stores, libraries, and police stations.
Crime Prevention & Safety Tips When It Comes to Babysitters
- With caregivers, never assume. If you leave your baby with friends or family, be sure they understand what “keeping them safe” means to you and will follow your instructions. Don’t ever assume they will know what to do. Make sure that you know about this caregiver. If you’re leaving your child with a nanny, we recommend ensuring that they have a clear police record. If you’re leaving them at a daycare or dayhome, ensure that they are safe and accredited with trustworthy staff.
Crime Prevention & Safety Tips For When Your Child Is Playing Outside
- Be aware of your child’s whereabouts. Ask them to let you know when they are leaving the house and to check in with you frequently. If possible, ask them to leave a phone number of whomever they would be with.
- Get to know your children’s friends. Meet their parents before letting your children go to their homes and keep a list of their phone numbers. If you can’t meet their parents, call and talk to them. Ask what your children might do at their house and if they will be supervised.
- Teach your children important phone numbers. Help them remember emergency hotlines and other important phone numbers to reach in case of emergency. Make sure they are aware of the best way to reach you. If they have trouble memorizing these, provide them with a card that contains important phone numbers. Also, teach them how to use a phone.
- Practice what to do in an emergency. Teach children how to dial 911 or “0” and when to do it. Roleplay different scenarios to prepare them for anything that might happen when they are home alone. Ask questions like “If you get hurt, what should you do?” and “If you want to play at a friend’s house, what should you do?”
- Teach children to stay away from anyone following them. Teach them not to get close to strangers or feel as though you must answer any questions they ask you.
- Teach children how they can keep away from harm. Tell your children to run and scream if someone tries to force them to go somewhere with them or take them. Teach them to accept any unplanned offers for a ride—from someone known or unknown.
- Teach children not to leave without permission. Teach your kids to ask a parent or the grown-up in charge before leaving their home. the yard or play area, or before going into someone’s home.
- Train your child to be aware of their surroundings, how to identify a threat, and how to react. When children reach age 3, they can begin to understand some of these basic concepts.
- Teach children that adults shouldn’t ask children for help. For example, a child shouldn’t trust grown-ups who ask kids for directions or for help finding a puppy or kitten. A child who is approached in this way should tell the person, “Wait here and I’ll check with my mom or dad,” and then find their parents right away.
- Teach your children a secret code word. Tell your child not to go with anyone under any circumstances unless that person also knows this code word.
- Teach children to ask the right person for help when they’re lost. If they get lost in a public place, immediately ask the authority or someone who works there for help. Be sure your child knows what to do if you become separated in a public place.
At Home Crime Prevention & Safety Tips To Teach Your Child
- Teach your children how to use a phone and dial important phone numbers. Help your children remember emergency hotlines and other important phone numbers to reach in case of emergency. Make sure they are aware of the best way to reach you. Leave a list of important phone numbers next to each phone in the house.
- Practice what to do in an emergency. Teach children how to dial 911 or “0” and when to do it. Roleplay different scenarios to prepare them for anything that might happen when they are home alone. Ask questions like “If someone is trying to get in the house, what should you do?”
- Remind your children to keep all the doors locked and not to open the door for strangers.
Social Media and Internet Safety
- Don’t post pictures, videos, or information of your child on social media that might compromise your child now or in the future. Photos taken on digital devices contain hidden data, such as the time, date and location, and this data can be cracked and may place the child at risk. Even if you remove these threats and tighten up your privacy settings, these photos and videos become public property once shared online.
Once they’re shared online, hackers and online predators can use those photos and do whatever they want with them. In extreme instances, parental sharing of children’s information has led to a new phenomenon called “digital kidnapping” where people consume all the information you posted about your child and use it for malicious intentions. Only post pictures and videos online that you wouldn’t mind any family member or friend posting on their own timeline; once you give someone access to your photo/video, they can do whatever they want with it.
- Don’t associate your child’s name with their birthday, school, address, phone number, or anything that you wouldn’t post on your own profile. You can easily lose control over your child’s identity when you publish information about them online.
- Make sure all your social media privacy settings are set accordingly. Social media posts can provide little indicators that can help people identify where a child lives, plays, and goes to school. Posts with information like location tags and landmarks give strangers as well as known aggressors the ability to locate a child and other family members. This is especially dangerous for families who are trying to manage custody disputes and escape domestic violence situations.
- Discover the Internet together with your child. If you have a child who is old enough to have discussions about online issues, ask them for their consent before you post a photo or video of them. If you do decide to share, try asking your children what they’re comfortable with and take some precautions. In sharing information about their children without consent, parents become the narrators of their child’s stories – leaving children vulnerable and unprotected. Child privacy is also child dignity and respect.
- Digital kidnapping, a type of identity theft, is always a possibility. It occurs when someone takes photos of a child from social media and repurposes them with new names and identities, often claiming the child as their own.
Your child’s photos can also be kidnapped for baby roleplaying. If you’re unfamiliar with baby roleplaying, search for #BabyRP, #AdoptionRP, and #KidRP on social media sites. Baby roleplayers create accounts on social media sites to post stolen photos along with captions that give false details about the child in the photos. Sometimes the stranger impersonates the child by responding to comments as the child or from the child’s point-of-view. These comments can be disturbing, though not all are malicious.
Other Essential Crime Prevention Tips for New Parents
- Always keep a good description of your child. Keep a close-up image of your child and make sure to keep it updated. Keep important details of your child, such as your child’s appearance including height, weight, eye colour, birthmarks and scars, as well as identifiable mannerisms. Also, keep your child’s fingerprint and footprint, and check with your local police for more details.