In New Zealand we’ve had a number of tragedies involving young babies falling victim to the carelessness and abuse of a trusted guardian. Most of these incidents occurred in the absence of their mother. These uncalled for acts are becoming more prominent in the news. Sad and pathetic is what I’m thinking right now.
It’s been weeks and months since the devastating death of the precious boy, Moko. Remember him? After his death, a call was made to the people of NZ to gather and march against child abuse. The number of people who responded were overwhelming. The event was moving and very informative, especially for families. However I was still saddened by the fact that the evil act was done.
How do we stop this growing epidemic? How do we stop mothers from going out to march for another mother’s dead baby? How can you protect your children when you’re not around? I could only think of one word ‘prevention’. If we want to protect our children we must prevent abuse and vulnerability. The trials to establish a “danger free” zone seems almost inevitable these days. But we can do our very best to minimize the risk of danger that floats around us. We must be more vigilant and knowing on how to protect and promote safety for our children.
Here are some safety tips for you to consider before leaving your precious cargo in the hands of another:
1. Choose someone you wholeheartedly trust – Because you love your children wholeheartedly, it only makes sense to leave them with people you wholeheartedly trust. right? There are people I trust and very few people I wholeheartedly trust. You know what I mean? Take this for example: Meet Person A (Person A represents female and male, family and friends). Person A never fails to show up at your important events, you both eat chocolates and watch movies all night, tells you you’re awesome and will rarely say anything to cross you. In fact, you can build this kind of friendship/relationship with anyone in less than 6 months. You can pretty much leave your children with person A, yes? probably not. Well, I wouldn’t. I trust Person A but not wholeheartedly. There are only a few people I would leave my children with and that’s because I trust them with all my heart. Think about it.
2. Trust the environment – Be sure you know the kind of environment you’re leaving your child in. Do you know the people who live there? Is it a transient home? What kind of activities occur within? Are there any potential threats to your child? Not only does my husband and I fight to protect our children physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well. If we perceive anything in a environment that may harm our children, we don’t leave them there.
3. Keep in contact – Call them, talk to them. Ask them how they’re doing, ask them if they are happy and make sure you get a response. As a mother, I know my children best, I know how they communicate when they’re happy and sad. My girls are very expressive. If your baby is not vocally communicating yet, Skype, Facetime or use Viber so you can see him/her.
4. Have safety rules – Teach your children some safety rules and notify their babysitter as well. One of our safety rules are, if we leave our girls with their nanny at her home, then they are to stay with their nanny at her house and none else, period. There is no passing around or hopping into aunty or uncle’s car, unless it’s been pre-organized. Are we being overly dramatic? Maybe. It’s okay to be overly dramatic about our toddlers safety.
5. Secret word/phrase – Have a secret word or phrase for your children to use. If they feel unsafe but are too scared to tell you on the phone for whatever reason, they can say the secret word without alerting their babysitter or the abuser. My sister gave her 5 year old son a password in case a stranger was to ever offer him a ride home at the school gates. He is to ask the stranger “what’s the password?” and if he/she doesn’t know it, he is to run back into the school grounds. This may be a little tricky for a young baby but if their older siblings are with them they can help. This takes me to my next tip.
6. Keep your children together – If you have 2 or 3+ children, keep them together. Sometimes we separate our children to give their babysitter some space and not feel too overwhelmed with the amount of children they have to watch. If that’s the case, look for someone who is capable of handling a number of children. Siblings can be of comfort and protection to each other when there is potential danger.
7. No long trips – Whether you trust or wholeheartedly trust the people you’re leaving your children with, don’t leave them for a long period of time. Especially if you have young babies. It’s that Simple.
We can prevent sore and wounded hearts by being more alert with who and where we leave our children. They deserve to be cared for with love and gentleness. So please… do your best to prevent abuse, protect your children and promote safety.