NOTE: Please remember that at some medical visits, a doctor or health care provider may need to look at your child's genital areas for wellness or a concern. A child should not be forced to have an exam of their private parts, even at a medical visit. Work with your child and the medical provider to make sure they understand the exam and are okay being examined.
This section helps guide parents on next steps after reading the book with your child or after you discuss the book with your independent reader.
* Please also see FAQ page for additional information
1. Have a follow up conversation with your child.
Reinforce that their body belongs to them! This is a great message to remind them when they are in new situations and environments. For example, sleepovers, play dates, summer camp, etc. You can read "The Doctor Says: Let's Talk About Body Safety" and remind them of the important body safety skills they learned from the book.
2. Stress the TEACH BACK:
a. The parts under your swimsuit are private and no one should look there, touch or see or make you do anything with your mouth.
b. Say STOP, "DON'T DO THAT" or "NO" if anyone tries OR just say that you have to leave and then leave.
c. They must then tell a grown up right away.
Help your child identify safe grown-ups - their teacher, a relative, family friend, etc. If the grown-up does not believe them then they should tell another safe grown-up.
Even if they are threatened, they should tell a grown-up right away! Remind them that they will not be in trouble if they talk about something that happened to them.
3. Teach your child proper names for their private parts. For example, vagina and penis. If that does not feel comfortable, many families use "private parts." Avoid names that are unclear or are other objects such as cookie, flower, pocketbook, hot dog, etc.
4. Children must also be told that they should not be made to touch anyone on the parts under their swimsuit - other children or even grown-ups. Activities that make them feel unsafe or uncomfortable should be told to a safe grown-up.
5. In the book it states "no one should make me do anything with my mouth." What does that mean?
Sometimes the sexual contact only involves the child's mouth. This may involve oral-oral contact, oral-anal contact or oral-genital contact with no touching or involvement of the parts under their swimsuit. Children should understand that this is not appropriate contact.
6. No one should ever take pictures or videos of their bodies.
This is often a way that a child may be groomed before there is actually sexual contact. Children should understand that this is not appropriate.
7. There should not be any secrets but surprises are okay!
If they want to surprise you for your birthday that is different from secrets or special games that others do not know about.
8. If your child makes a statement concerning possible child sexual abuse - please believe them! It is not uncommon for children to make a disclosure once they learn about or are reminded about the rules for their bodies.
a. Do not judge them or express anger that they could believe is directed at them. Remain calm. Sometimes children will feel shame or guilt. It is important that they understand that what happened is not their fault.
b. Make sure that they know that you believe them, love them and will protect them!
c. If there are immediate safety concerns, please call 911. Ensure that your child is safe and follow up with your child's doctor or health care provider as soon as possible.
Prevention is the key! Learn to prevent, recognize and respond!