April is the first month of spring. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and children are running around with spring fever.
While children are running around, parents and community members should be helping keep them safe.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and this is a call to action for the community. Child abuse crosses all socio-economic statuses and occurs in all cultures.
Around Stillwater this month you will see blue pinwheels, ribbons and little blue wooden children. These are items placed to help remind you that YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN A CHILD’S LIFE.
This is a topic that is easily glossed over, and not much fun to talk or hear about. But this topic has a greater impact that people don’t realize. The abuse occurring doesn’t only affect the child, but it affects the community. It can affect that child’s future, and their contributions to society.
The No. 1 thing you can do to help prevent child abuse is talking to your children about ways to stay safe. More than 90 percent of children are abused by someone they know and trust. Allowing your child the opportunity to talk about ways to stay safe is a wonderful way to open up communication.
Teaching them about personal boundaries, and listing who safe people are in their life is a great start. A common statistic that you might have seen is 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be abused before their 18th birthday. These numbers are children who you see every day and have the chance to make a positive impact in their life.
Most people, even if you work with children every day, don’t know the common indicators of a child that is being abused. The Saville Center offers a free training to the community on how to “Recognize and Report Child Abuse.”
If you are interested in this training or would like to know other ways to keep our children safe please contact them at 405-377-5670 for further information. Studies show that for every adult educated on child abuse, 10 children are made safer. Please help us in making our community a safer place for our children to grow.
Sarah Beth Ragland is the Smart Start Community Coordinator for Stillwater.