Published in the Oakville Beaver, January 24

The Town of Oakville (and the YMCA of Oakville) are hosting a new program aimed at helping young children develop skills to identify and respond to potentially-dangerous situations.

The My Safe Life – Personal Safety for Kids program, run by SOS 4 Kids, helps children recognize “inappropriate behaviours, when to speak up and how to seek help if they feel uncomfortable or threatened,” according to the Oakville-based organization.

The program is being held at The Meeting House, 2700 Bristol Cir., during school PA Days (Feb. 5 and June 3) and March Break (March 16), as well as at the YMCA of Oakville, starting Sunday, Jan. 24

SOS 4 Kids Children’s Safety Programs

My Safe Life – Personal Safety for Kids

Home Alone Safety for Kids

“For years, parents have focused on telling their kids not to talk to strangers, but this message is not complete,” according to SOS 4 Kids co-founders Velma Ganassini and Sue Perry.

“The better safety message for kids to remember is don’t go anywhere with anyone without first getting permission from a parent or a person in charge. This makes people safety and self-protection easy for children to comprehend.”

The group’s co-founders say, according to Statistics Canada, most children and youths are abused by people they know, as only 12 per cent of offences involving children are committed by strangers — the remaining cases are committed by either an acquaintance (44 per cent) or a family member (38 per cent).

The program talks about “tricky people,” predators who use deceptive techniques to ‘groom’ a targeted child by earning their trust and affection.

It also covers safety with respect to people, online activities, roads and fire, as well as injury prevention and first aid.

“Children need to feel confident about their right to be safe and that all adults are responsible for protecting them,” stated a media release issued by SOS 4 Kids.

“Parents should get to know the people who are spending time with their kids, like coaches and babysitters, and they should listen and take action when children say they have a safety problem or an emergency,” stated the release.

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