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How to Talk to Young Children About Body Safety: A Guide for Parents

As a parent, it's crucial to start teaching your children about body parts and safety as early as 2 years old. The National Crimes Against Children Investigators Association recommends that parents start by teaching their children about "good and bad touches", the dangers of secrets, and who "safe adults" are.

To teach children appropriate language for their body parts, parents should use proper anatomical terms such as "vagina" and "penis" instead of euphemisms like "flower" or "tee-tee". This helps children communicate effectively with safe adults, such as doctors, nurses, and teachers, in case of any abuse or injury.

Parents should establish a culture of modesty in their homes and teach children appropriate boundaries. Parents should avoid walking around nude or wearing inappropriate attire in plain view of their children, as it may send the wrong message to them. Children should also be taught not to show their private parts to anyone and that anyone who violates these boundaries should be considered a threat to their safety.

Parents should not force physical affection on their children, as it can lead to conditioning the child to accept unwanted physical contact, including sexual abuse. Children should be taught to establish boundaries with others and to refuse physical affection if they are not comfortable.

It's essential to explain to children the difference between good and bad touches, and that "bad touches" are not limited to sexual abuse but can also include physically aggressive or violent touches. Children should also be taught a solid rule that no one should look at or touch their private parts.

Parents should monitor what their children are exposed to, including TV, the internet, and other media, to prevent them from accessing sexually explicit content. Online video gaming opportunities should also be closely monitored to avoid contact with child sexual predators.

It's crucial to review this information consistently and frequently with children, including other safety themes such as water, fire, chemical, and animal safety. Parents should expect questions from their children and be prepared to answer them appropriately and privately.

If a child makes a disclosure of abuse, it's crucial to remain calm, believe them, and report the information immediately to both Law Enforcement and CPS. Failure to report sexual abuse may be a crime, and it's mandatory under the law in any state to report it.

If you or someone you know is experiencing or has experienced sexual abuse, please contact your local CPS and Law Enforcement today or call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453).

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