As a parent or grandparent, child safety is one of your top priorities. However, adults are often unaware of the risks their children are facing, from friends, caregivers, and even the other parent. Child endangerment, neglect, and abuse are, unfortunately, all too common, and parents need to know what they can do to protect their children. If you want to keep your children as safe as possible, here are some things you can do.
Know When Abuse Occurs
Child abuse can occur any time an abuser has access to a child. While often the abuse occurs in secret, such as when your child is spending the night at someone’s house, other times it can occur when there are many people nearby, like in a quiet corner at a family gathering. Sadly, abuse can even happen at the hand of a parent, such as in the case of a divorced couple who share custody of the child.
While you cannot limit all potential times when abuse can occur, you can take measures to reduce the chances of your child falling victim. Avoid situations where your child is alone with other adults for an extended period of time, even if they are trusted. This includes teenagers or children who are much older than your child. Never force your child to display affection towards another person around whom they feel uncomfortable. Finally, seek to maintain open communication with your child, increasing the chances they will tell you if something is happening.
Know the Warning Signs of Abuse
Many children who are being abused will not ask for help. Sometimes they are unaware that the behavior from the adult in their life is not simply normal behavior. Other times they are intimidated into not telling by threats of further abuse or danger to other loved ones. Parents need to know how to spot the signs of abuse to get help quickly. Some signs that can indicate abuse is occurring include:
- Bruising or other marks that don’t have a clear explanation, particularly on the face or other areas of the body.
- Bruising that looks like a hand, hanger, belt or similar item that would be used to strike a child.
- Injuries that are on uncommon areas, like the back, buttocks, torso or neck.
- Injury to the genitalia
- Extreme behavior, including withdrawal or extreme fear
If you are noticing some of these signs, it’s time to dig a little deeper and determine if there is abuse occurring. Unfortunately, you may not be able to spot abuse, because abusers are not going to engage in this behavior around you. This is where a private investigator can help. A private investigator can discreetly monitor the supposed abuser to gain evidence of abuse so you can take action.
Teach Your Children to Be Safe
In addition to learning the signs of child abuse, you, as a parent, have a responsibility to teach your children to be safe around others, giving them the tools to know what to do if they are in an abusive situation. Here are some important child safety tips to teach your child:
- They can say “no” to adults when something feels uncomfortable
- The area covered by their swimsuit is private
- Always ask you first before going somewhere with another adult
- Go in a group whenever possible
- Be cautious of strangers when walking through the neighborhood
- Remember that most adults don’t ask children for help, so someone who does may be a threat
If you have questions or concerns regarding child safety, or if you suspect that your child has been the victim of abuse, it’s critical that you get help as quickly as possible. If you need help gathering evidence against the supposed abuser, give us a call for the help of a skilled private investigator.