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Protecting The Children
6/19/2013 1:00:35 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch 

Now that school is out for the summer, take precautionary measures to keep your children safe. During the summer break, many children are left home alone or with family members. Choose your child care provider carefully. If you must leave your child home alone, take into consideration the age, maturity level and trustworthiness.
It is not enough to “know” or “think you know” the person you have trusted to care for your over the summer break. Be aware of other persons that live in or frequent the home of your child care provider. Call your children periodically during the day to check on them. 

Do your research! Always talk to your child about inappropriate touching by family members and others. Don’t be so trusting of friends, family and neighbors. Look for changes in your child’s behavior after they have spent time with the child care provider. And yes, family members are no different. 

According to Wikipedia, “Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often brothers, fathers, uncles or cousins; around 60% are other acquaintances such as 'friends' of the family, babysitters, or neighbors; strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases. Most child sexual abuse is committed by men; studies show that women commit 14% to 40% of offenses reported against boys and 6% of offenses reported against girls. Some sources report that most offenders who sexually abuse prepubescent children are pedophiles but some offenders do not meet the clinical diagnosis standards for pedophilia.” 

Remember this! Most children are molested by someone they know or trust. The perpetrator instills fear in them by telling them not to tell their parents because if they do he or she will harm them. If your fun loving child suddenly seems withdrawn, ask questions. 

Last week I touched on “Free Porn” sites that our children are tapping into on their Smartphones and computers. Find a way to monitor your child’s phone and computer use. Periodically check the history of sites your child has visited. 

Peep in on them at night and if the phone is on under the covers, don’t be deceived.

Believe me when I tell you they aren’t under the covers studying their Sunday School lesson. Check the porn sites out for yourself and the garbage will shock you off your feet.
Another major concern over the summer is the number of drownings by children who do not know how to swim or venture out too far in waters with no supervision. 

Parents, put aside your fears of the water. Don’t allow your fears to kill your children. If you are trying to find something for your children to do this summer, enroll them in swimming classes. Take them to the pool and wait for them. 

Admonish them to remain in the shallow part of the pool while they get used to the water. If your child can’t swim, wait and watch along with the lifeguard. I, too, was in your shoes but I did not pass my fears along to my children. 

I made sure they took swimming lessons. I had to pay a nominal fee at one of the municipal pools but it was well worth the investment. I can rest a little easier now when they are in the water. I am still afraid of the water because I know the dangers of it; many children don’t. 

One minute the water is calm and the next minute it can suck you right under with its current. Although, I still harbor a certain amount of fear, I love nothing more than to sit and watch the water for hours. I love the mystery of the ocean. I am drawn to one of God’s magnificent handiworks. I love to watch the waves roll in and out. I have conquered my fear by moving from the lounge chair to at least sitting in the water. Oh, don’t even think about the sight of me in a bathing suit. Like my son would say, “don’t worry mom even the Peeping Tom would come in and close your blinds.” We are talking serious stuff here. You can do the same to conquer your fears as well as educate your children on water safety. 

Remember!! Children are curious. We are surrounded by the waters in Charleston. Either you sign them up for swimming lessons or they will find some swamp hole or river to cool off in. If you haven’t heard anything I have said, hear this. Enroll your child in swimming lessons TODAY! The child you save just may be your own. 

Finally, slow down and drive responsibly through neighborhoods. Children are out everywhere playing, running after balls and dodging out from between park cars. Stop texting and chatting so much while driving. Keep your eyes on the road. It is better to be safe than sorry. 

Protect your children over the summer. Be sure that you know where your child is and what they are doing. 

That’s not called snooping; it’s what you call good parenting. 

Plan activities to keep your child busy and out of trouble. Public libraries have reading programs that will keep children busy, expand their knowledge and improve their reading abilities. 

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