September is International Child Protection Month, and we are delighted to announce our partnership with Kidpower, the 25-year-old global non-profit dedicated to teaching positive, practical, personal safety skills to people of all ages.
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Kidpower founder Irene van der Zande and listened as she told a group of adults about the incident that inspired her to start the organization. It’s a powerful story to be sure, but to hear her tell it in person is downright chilling; you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone in that room to disagree with the assertion that child safety is important. But that’s just it. Child safety is a no-brainer. Of course we want our children to be safe. What resonated with me was van der Zande’s admonishment that we practice child safety. Just as we practice crossing the street with our children—holding hands, looking both ways, being vigilant—we need to help them practice being safe with people.
In her Kidpower safety comics, van der Zande writes that children learn better by doing than by being told what to do, and gives adult caregivers tips for practicing child safety through “calm conversations, fun hands-on practice, and enthusiastic encouragement.” She encourages adults to “integrate People Safety skills into your daily life, coaching children so they are successful—in the same way that you might prepare children to be safe with water, food, fire, cars, and bikes.”
So I’m taking her advice to heart and setting a goal to practice safety with my children every day. International Child Protection Month is important because it invites caring adults to come together for a month of action, and shines a light on the important issue of child safety. But to make a change that counts, our efforts should be year-round.