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A garda van outside Longford Courthouse yesterday Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

ISPCC publishes tips on keeping children safe

The charity has published advice for parents in light of the alleged attack in Athlone. It urges parents to teach basic rules to children from the age of two.

CHILDREN’S CHARITY THE ISPCC is urging parents of toddlers as young as two to start teaching basic personal safety rules.

An advice leaflet is being made available by the organisation in light of the alleged rape of two young girls in Athlone on Saturday.

Parents are being advised to:

  • Start teaching children simple rules about personal safety from as young as two or three (such as not going off with anyone, not even someone they know). Turn it into a game when you pick them up from nursery.
  • Let children know they never have to do anything they don’t like with an adult or older child (even if it’s someone they know). Practice this at home by never making them kiss or hug an adult if they don’t want to.
  • Teaching children, as soon as they are able to understand, their full name, address and telephone number (and practising it over and over).
  • Choosing a designated ‘safe spot’ (such as an information desk) where you can meet if you get separated when out shopping.
  • Holding hands in crowded places and not walking too far ahead of toddlers who can’t keep up.

A 3o-year-old man is due to appear again in court on Friday after being remanded in custody during a court appearance yesterday in connection with the alleged assault in Athlone. The judge ordered that he be put on suicide watch in prison and given extra protection. The man cannot be named for legal reasons.

Director of Services at the ISPCC Caroline O’Sullivan said it was important to teach children the basics of safety from a young age.

“Every parent wants to protect their children but we can’t be there 100 per cent of the time,” O’Sullivan said.

“Children go to school, play with friends, attend birthday parties and while incidents like what happened in Athlone  are rare, as parents we need to equip our children with the skills and confidence they need to be safe as possible in public.”

She added: “No matter how much you teach your child about safety, remember the limits of their age and maturity”.

Comments have been disabled on this post in light of ongoing court proceedings.

Read: Man remanded in custody over alleged sexual assault of two girls in Athlone >

Also: Taoiseach extends sympathy on a ‘very sad day’ for Athlone’ >