Summertime Child Safety Tip: image of boy with Playboy magazine

Summertime Child Safety Tip #1: Spot Inspections

Does summertime child safety look different than child safety the rest of the year? Actually, it does. Which is why I’m offering up today’s child safety tip.

Incidents of child sexual abuse peak at certain times.

  • After school (ie. before parents or primary caregivers return home from work)
  • Summertime (While parents or primary caregivers are at work for long periods of time)

What do these circumstances have in common?

Lack of adult supervision.

Victims of abuse are unsupervised in 70% of cases. 

The majority of abuse happens in isolation. When a child is in a one-on-one environment with someone who has an inappropriate agenda.

Since it’s not realistic to expect caregiving adults to be with their kids 24/7, what’s a parent, foster parent, or grandparent to do?

Darkness to Light’s excellent online training, “Stewards of Children,” offers a clever safety tip for this scenario.

Random drop-ins. By individuals you and your child consider “Safe Adults.”

  • You
  • Your spouse or partner
  • Your best friend
  • The parent of your child’s best friend (You all can trade!)
  • Your child’s aunt or uncle
  • A friend who’s a police officer
  • A grandparent
  • Your next-door neighbor

Once your child realizes someone is always “stopping by when they’re in the neighborhood,” that fact may deter risky behavior.

Want an example of how to implement this child safety tip?

Here’s an example from my childhood.

Growing up, me and my brothers (and our friends) spent hours hanging out in our basement. Where there was a TV, a sofa, a fireplace, and a recliner that could be rocked until it flipped over. So many good times happened there with us and our friends.

And also some concerning episodes.

One night my best friend was sleeping over and we were downstairs watching TV. We were 14 years old at the time. Unbeknownst to my parents:

In through the open garage door swaggered two college-aged guys. With a case of beer. 

It was the first time I ever got drunk.

And the first time I ever sat on a sofa, in a dimly lit room, beside a boy who was not my brother.

Know what could have prevented this situation?

My parents walking downstairs every 30 minutes or so. To say hello and maybe offer up some Kool Aid, or Ruffles with Ridges and a bowl of French Onion Dip. Unfortunately, Mom and Dad never checked on us.

And so began my years of underage partying.

 Another reason to check on kids is to limit their consumption of pornography.

As you might expect, if a kid wants to check out pornography, they’re probably going to go somewhere private, like their bedroom or a bathroom. But if you’re at work, your whole house becomes a private place.

The problem with pornography isn’t limited to your child looking at intense images. Recent research tells us some kids are viewing then doing. To keep tabs on what your kids are doing online–when you’re home, or not–consider activating parental controls on all of your family’s digital devices. It’s actually one of my top child safety tips.

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