Keeping children safe while out and about

All children can be vulnerable sometimes, and as a parent it is only natural to worry about their safety. If you are worried, you can help to protect your young children and teens with these common-sense tips.

Protecting young children

Statistics show that crime against young children by strangers is rare. Even so, these seven tips can help protect your child:

  • tell your child to avoid talking to people they don't know when you're not around
  • make sure your child knows never to walk away with strangers
  • make sure your child understands that they should always tell you if a stranger approaches, and never to keep this secret
  • if your child is travelling alone, tell them to sit near other families on the train or bus
  • if your child has to use a lift – tell them only to use lifts with friends, and not to feel worried about getting out if they are uncomfortable about someone else being in there
  • if your child gets lost, they should ask for help from a police officer, another grown-up with children or someone working at a nearby shop
  • have your children learn their address and telephone number by heart

While you are out with your children

Sometimes, young children can still be vulnerable even if you are with them. Following these simple precautions should give you peace of mind:

  • try to keep your children within your sight or another adult's whom you trust
  • use reins for your toddler - these will keep your child nearby even if you get distracted
  • when out and about visiting places, always arrange a meeting point for you and your child, in case either of you get lost
  • make sure you all travel together in the same train carriage, or have seats close together on a bus or coach
  • always go with your child into public toilets
  • remind your child never to talk to strangers, even if you are nearby

Keeping teenagers safe

More crimes are committed against teenagers than any other age group, but here are some things they can do to keep safe on the streets:

  • stay alert, and keep personal stereos/MP3 players turned off, so they can hear what's going on around them
  • stick to busy, well-lit roads, and avoid short cuts through alleyways
  • if your child thinks someone is following them, they should cross the road or go to a place with lots of people around, like a bus stop or shop
  • your child could carry a whistle or shrill alarm around their neck or on a key chain to warn off suspicious strangers
  • when travelling by bus, your child should try to use bus stops on busy roads
  • if someone tries to take something from your child, tell them never to fight
  • tell them to keep mobile phones and other valuables out of sight, and to turn off their mobile phone ringer to avoid attracting attention
  • don't let your child carry weapons because they are more likely to be used against them, and it's illegal
  • encourage your child to speak up if they are being bullied or feel they might be in danger

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.