Parent Safety Tips
Emergency Phone Numbers All Parents Should Have Saved
A number you should absolutely have saved in your contacts is that of poison control. In Ontario the number is (416) 813-5900. Young children can sometimes have the habit of drinking or eating things they shouldn’t. Poisons can take effect quickly. Poison control can tell you what to do to save your child’s life until professionals arrive. These professionals will be able to let you know if whatever they licked or ingested is something to go to the ER about or if it can be flushed out. This call will help you make a quick decision.
On Call Nurse/Hospital
People can get sick at any time. Sometimes, this occurs after doctor’s office hours. This is why it’s good to have the phone number of an on call nurse or hospital stored in your contacts. Simply being able to ask questions about your child’s symptoms can help give you the peace of mind that you are taking the right steps. Most insurance companies have a free nurse line you can talk to. When something happens you don’t want to be searching for the cards and information. It’s better to have it already saved in your phone to reassure your decision to stay home or go to Urgent Care.
The Local Police Non-Emergency Line
The police exist to help the citizenry. This certainly includes children. If your children are in danger or are being threatened, calling the police can help give you the backup you need to alleviate the situation. You should also call 911 if you need it. Make sure you have them stored in contacts for the non-emergency number. When you are not in immediate danger you should use this line to alleviate waiting times for 911.
Most families have pets. If your precious cat or dog gets hurt, starts coughing up blood, or is in severe pain you should consider taking them to the emergency vet nearest you. It’s better to do the research now than to scramble in case they end up in a raccoon fight in the middle of the night that leaves them with a ghastly gash or if they eat a forbidden snack that could be life threatening. Knowing which vet service has emergency services around you will help you quickly get the help your little buddy needs.
Protecting your children also means protecting your home and its various systems. This includes plumbing. If a serious leak is not fixed immediately, it could lead to the growth of dangerous mold that can pose a serious health risk. It could even permanently damage the structure of your home. Store the number of a 24/7 emergency handyman.
Being a parent can sometimes be scary. To protect your children’s lives, you need to take the proper precautions. This certainly includes storing important emergency numbers in your phone so you can quickly dial them when needed.
What can parents do?
It can be heartbreaking for parents to know their child is being bullied. All they want to do is protect their children from all the hurts in life. Few people make it through childhood without some kind of teasing, but when teasing becomes continual, cruel and upsetting, it goes too far and becomes bullying.
According to the Bullying Canada website, the four most common types of bullying are:
Verbal Bullying – name-calling, sarcasm, teasing, spreading rumours, threatening, making negative references to one’s culture, ethnicity, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, unwanted sexual comments
Social Bullying – mobbing, scape-goating, excluding others from a group, humiliating others with public gestures or graffiti intended to put others down
Physical Bullying – hitting, poking, pinching, chasing, shoving, coercing, destroying or stealing belongings, unwanted sexual touching
Cyber Bullying – using the internet or text messaging to intimidate, put-down, spread rumours or make fun of someone
Signs your child is being bullied
- withdrawal from family and friends
- a drop in grades
- torn clothing or unexplained bruises
- not wanting to go to school
- needing extra money or supplies
- taking toys or other possessions to school and regularly “losing” them
- unusual bed wetting
What can you do to help your child?
- Having a conversation about bullying is a good start. Give your child the chance to talk about what is happening and take their complaints seriously. If they are unable to talk about it with you, find them another adult or a counsellor they are willing to confide in. They can even speak anonymously with a counsellor at Kids Help Phone (http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/teens/home/splash.aspx). Kids can also report bullying anonymously online through this provincial government website.
- Assure them it is not their fault and you are not going to take away their Internet or cell phone.
- Determine the type and severity of the bullying before deciding on a course of action. If there is violence involved, notify the school and the police may need to investigate.
- Teach them how to resolve arguments without violent words or actions, such as using humour to diffuse a situation.
- Teach them how to walk confidently and how to stand up for themselves by being assertive and telling the bully to go away.
- Understand that in most circumstances, the best plan is to walk away from a confrontation.
- Let your child’s school know and discuss options with the teachers, caregivers and school counsellor. Most schools have a strict “no tolerance” policy on bullying.
What can you do if your child is the bully?
Most bullies act out of feelings of insecurity, anger or loneliness. Talk to your child’s school counsellor or a child psychologist to find appropriate strategies to use at home to help your child.
Depending on your child’s age, you may want to increase your supervision of their activities and interactions involving other children.
It’s important to take it seriously. The bullying behaviour is not likely to stop unless you take action. Ask for help.
Kids today seem to spend more time online than they do watching television, which has provided another avenue for bullying to take place. Unlike a child who is bullied at school, cyber bullying can happen 24 hours a day every day. The good news is that this type of bullying often leaves behind evidence and doesn’t rely on your child’s word against their bully’s.
Examples of Cyber Bullying
- posting nasty things about someone on Facebook and other websites
- sending abusive texts, emails or instant messages
- creating websites to harass and torment someone
Tips for Dealing with Cyber Bullying
- Have your child save and print copies of all relevant texts, emails and other communication, as well as save voicemails.
- Your child shouldn’t respond to the bullying and should block contact, if possible.
- Ensure your child’s privacy settings are the highest on Facebook and other social networking websites and that they have not provided their personal details online, such as their date of birth, their address, phone number or even the school they attend. Remind them never to share their passwords.
- Report any cyber bullying to the website they are on, as well as your Internet Service Provider.
- Like other types of bullying, if the cyber bullying crosses the line and becomes harassment, involves threats or is a hate crime, it’s time to call the police.
Bullying and the law
Most incidents of bullying are not actually illegal, but you should report the following to your local police:
- Hate crimes – if your child or their property is targeted because of their race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, that is classified as a hate crime
- Robbery or Theft
- Harassment and Threatening – incidents that take place over a prolonged period of time that causes your child to fear for their safety. It can include being followed, unwanted communication and threats.
How does Snapchat work?
It’s a really good idea to learn about the online world your children are spending so much time in. If you don’t have a lot of confidence or knowledge about some of the social networking or gaming sites they visit, here are some suggestions:
- ask your child to tell you about the sites
- visit the library or your local book store and ask for book recommendations
- talk to the parents’ committee at your child’s school and see if they will bring in an expert to speak with parents