Children this age need careful structure for safety. Parents who do not abuse or neglect their children keep them safe by:
Refusing to leave a child alone in the house or car
Always using car seats or safety belts when traveling with a child in the car
Carefully supervising a child in a shopping cart
Continuing to cut food into small pieces
Setting clear and firm limits for baby-sitters by discussing do's and don'ts and then leaving a list of them
Monitoring outside play and water safety
Making certain that other adults understand what the children need
Teaching children what good or bad touch is and then listening carefully if children report anything that would suggest abusive behavior from other adults
Teaching children accurate terms for all body parts, including penis, testicles, vagina, vulva, and breasts
Teaching children ways to resolve conflict without verbal or physical attacks
Teaching children their full name, phone number, and address
Teaching children how and when to use 911
Teaching children safety skills, like saying no and respecting their own and others' bodies
If you suspect abuse of any kind, find a way to protect your child. Get help if you need it. Report the abuser to the child protection service in your area.
Christine Ternand, M.D.
Source: HELP! For Parents of Children from Birth to Five: Tried and True Solutions to Parents' Everyday Problems, author Jean Illsley Clarke, First rev ised Edition, 1993
Copyright 2000 by Jean Illsley Clarke, Self-Esteem: A Family Affair, All Rights Reserved.