Children in every nation of the world have the right to feel safe in their homes, schools, and communities. Yet, millions of the planet’s kids go unprotected on a daily basis. They face discrimination, exploitation, neglect, and abuse.
Being left so vulnerable is detrimental to their entire lives. Children who aren’t safe are less likely to pursue their dreams or develop to their full potential.
For any child, the first line of defense is the family. Parents, grandparents, and other caregivers are the ones initially responsible for creating a protective environment. Later in life, this responsibility also falls upon daycare centers, schools, and the community as a whole.
A community that is dedicated to the health and safety of our children will always offer
- active listening
- assessment of concerns
- safe and loving spaces
- accessibility for those differently-abled
The Facts About Safety
The goal of this article isn’t to scare you with a bunch of frightening statistics, but half of the battle is in knowing what you are up against. It is essential to understand the risks so that you can adequately prepare yourself and your children to face them.
Child trafficking affects more than 1 million children per year, and more than 200 million are sexually abused or exploited. About 22% of children around the world will receive some sort of physical punishment at home.
But willful violence against children is not the only danger that lurks. Kids are especially vulnerable to accidents. Each year, about 1 million children die due to accidental injuries, and it is one of the leading causes of death for children in the U.S.
Children are also particularly vulnerable to receiving grievous injury or death in a car crash — especially when not properly restrained in an age-appropriate safety harness. Playing sports without the proper equipment can also result in serious injury for kids. Plus, upwards of 3,000 children are treated for injuries due to falls out of a window each year.
What Can Parents Do?
Luckily, there are ways to keep our children safe from the dangers listed above. However, to truly protect all the children, it will take strong community involvement as well as parental vigilance.
Big picture things that can help expand the safety net for our children include voting for lawmakers that understand the importance of child safety and who support legislation that will put an end to child trafficking and exploitation. Supporting community groups and initiatives like AllianceOne is another way to protect kids.
On a smaller scale, parents should teach their children the difference between a safe adult and one who is not — where they should go to seek help and who they can trust. Children should also be taught basic safety precautions such as staying away from the medicine cabinet, wearing proper gear when participating in sports, and practicing good water safety at the pool.
Please don’t feel like you have to go it alone; there are a plethora of resources available to help parents and kids navigate the world so that everyone can live a safe and happy life.