Imaginif prompts for daily writers.
If you wish to join the Writers Prompt Daily simply use the below photo (changes daily) as a prompt and post a short story, poem or paragraph to your blog. Leave a comment and your link here so that all participants can come to you and read/comment/encourage. Stories below are copyright and are Megan Bayliss' writing around the below daily picture prompt.

Bogus Email Suggesting PIN Reversal Under Robbery

There is a bogus email about PIN Reversal doing the rounds (below).

If you should ever be forced by a robber to withdraw money from an ATM machine, you can notify the police by entering your Pin # in reverse. For example if your pin number is 1234 then you would put in 4321.The ATM recognizes that your pin number is backwards from the ATM card you placed in the machine.
The machine will still give you the money you requested, but unknown to the
robber, the police will be immediately dispatched to help you. This information
was recently broadcasted on TV and it states that it is seldom used because
people don't know it exists. Please pass this along to everyone possible.
Australian Federal Police. AFP Web site:
Suspicious about the content suggesting people reverse their PIN when confronted by a robber (who can do this under pressure!) and no direct link to either the Australian Federal Police warning or the mentioned TV broadcast, I contacted the Australian Federal Police and asked for legitimacy.

This is their reply:

The AFP is aware of this email. The AFP does not endorse this email.
Tel +61(0) 2 62757294 Ext 167294 Fax +61(0) 2 62757058

Christine Aguilera Abused as a Child

Christine Aguilera grew up in a home where the dynamic was domestic violence rather than domestic bliss. Witnessing her mother beat up by her father, Christine stated that she received a few hits as well.

Hiding in music and singing as a way to block out emotional pain, fear and chaos, Christina Aguilera learnt to dissociate at a very young age. Today with her grueling schedule, constant reinventing of herself and amazing creativity, Christina may still be displaying the signs of dissociation.

Domestic Violence is child abuse. Child witnesses of parental violence frequently dissociate to survive. Typically, they will do one of two things when exposed to one parent beating the other:

  1. Run to the abused parent and cry, “Leave my Mummy/Daddy alone”, or

  2. play quietly and act as though nothing is happening.

Either of these coping strategies places the child at greater risk of harm and is child abuse in action.

Whereas Christina Aguilera has channeled her talent and the affects of child abuse into her successful career, many child witnesses of domestic violence are not as lucky. Subconsciously prepared to tolerate abuse, child witnesses often grow up with reorganized thoughts about abuse equaling love. The remorse and buy back phases of the domestic violence cycle are so strong, appealing and convincing that child witnesses unconsciously seek out relationships where they are sure to experience the “love” of meaningful relationships. These relationships are frequently laced with the tactics of power and control and the adult child relives their parent’s abusive experiences.

Witnessing domestic violence is tantamount to living in a war zone and many child witnesses present with symptoms similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We do not send our children to war. Why do we allow our children to grow up in one?

If you are experiencing any forms of domestic violence (physical, verbal, emotional and financial), help is available. It is possible to break the cycle and give your children the life they deserve. Ring a help service today. A problem shared is a problem halved.

In Australia ring: Violence Against Women, Australia Say's No 1800 200 526

In the U.S. ring: National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), 1-800-787-3224 (TDD)

In the U.K ring: 24-hour National Domestic Violence helpline, 0808 2000 247

Reach out for help. Please do not be a child abuser by attempting to keep things calm and your children safe. Domestic violence is child abuse.

Articles of interest around child witnesses of domestic violence:

End Child Sexual Abuse. Take a Corporate Stance.

Help the corporate voice of those helping you in the fight against
child sexual abuse.

Click below graphic and vote for this site as the best Corporate Blog Site.
My site was nominated for Best Corporate Blog!

To vote you need to register and confirm your email address.

Thank you for putting Child Sexual Abuse prevention on the blogosphere agenda.

Invitation to Submit Now to the Carnival Against Child Abuse (May 2007 edition)

Invitation to join the fight against domestic terrorists:
child abusers.
Dear Reader,

You are invited to join us for the Carnival Against Child Abuse.
When: Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Where: Child Protection: Serious Business (here)

Theme: May Day, May Day: Children at Risk.

What to contribute: Your blog posts about Child Abuse. Posts that fit the theme of “May Day, May Day: Children at Risk” will be published first on the scale of blogs about Child Abuse.

Special guest appearance: In preparation for the first birthday of the Carnival Against Child Abuse (June 19th) we bring you straight from outback Australia, Participation Contest.
  • For every post you submit, you get one point.
  • For every comment you make on a carnival entry, you get one point. You can leave a comment even if you didn’t submit a post. However, your comment must include that you found your way there through the Carnival Against Child Abuse.
  • For every post that you link back to the carnival, you’ll get one point (begin now by advertising the upcoming "May Day, May Day: Children at Risk" edition. Follow up by advertising the published edition.).
  • Winner is the first to reach 21 points, or the closest to 21 points.
  • Winner will be announced here at Child Protection: Serious Business with a link back to the winner's blog/s.

Prize for Participation Contest Winner: Children’s Chapter Book, Bitss of Caramel Marmalade on Toast. Value $23.00 (RRP $15.00, international P&H $8.00). Signed book will be mailed from the author (me). Winner will also receive a “Dogsbody Army Award for Helping Kids to Stay Safe” graphic to place on their site.

RSVP: Blogs to be received by Monday 14th May by responding to this invitation here.

Message from event coordinator: In the interest of child protection and assisting kids at risk of harm (physical, emotional, sexual and neglect), this virtual event is alcohol and drug free. We particularly welcome blog posts about prevention of child abuse, focusing on what parents can do. Practical tips, ideas, stories of encouragement and strength, and praise for those corporate entities that have taken up the Child Abuse prevention flag are most welcome. Similarly, and given that May celebrates Mother’s Day, stories about Mother’s who acted protectively toward their children are highly prized catches in the fight against child abuse. All other categories are still accepted (Survivor Stories, Poetry, In The News, Healing and Therapy, Advocacy & Awareness, Aftermath). If you have something to say about Child Abuse, this is the place to say it. We look forward to receiving your positive RSVP in the way of your blog submission. Thank you for enlisting to the war on domestic terrorism.

Photos courtesy of my son's 11th birthday party.

Bibliotherapy: Using Books to Help Children Solve Problems.

Writing to right the ills against children, my chosen genre is children’s fiction: bibliotherapy. The use of a story to assist a child in grappling with and integrating social issues is a method I use successfully with children in counseling, and as a Mum of four, my kids have learnt how to solve problems through my choice of books provided them. Read here what Best Children’s Books says about bibliotherapy: the use of books to help children experiencing difficult times.

Parents frequently present as scared and unsure how to educate their children about personal safety: Scared that they may spoil their children’s innocence by discussing unpalatable things. Children’s innocence is spoilt by the perpetrating predators that seek our children out and destroy their self-esteem through bullying, violence and child abuse (physical, emotional, sexual and neglect).

One of my short children’s stories, Looking for Laughter, has been picked up by Pearson Education Australia and published in Challenge Magazine. The short story is about surviving school bullying by seeking out a laughter friend, another bullied child who can help turn the isolation and abuse into deep survival, using humor rather than fight back.

"I've been looking for laughter for a long time but it sure hid from me. All the girls hated me and I still hate them. Nobody would ever play with me and the teachers did mean things, all day. I wanted to run away, until I met Larry. I wasn't even looking for laughter on that day but there it was, right under my snotty nose. This is the story of the weird day that I wasn't looking for laughter but instead met Larry."

Child survival and personal safety is best encouraged by preparing our children for situations prior to them occurring. Books are a wonderful way for parents to gently introduce coping strategies and social understanding.

Read your child a book today and help prepare them for the unknown tomorrow.

Here’s my junior fiction book about body ownership (Bitss of Caramel Marmalade on Toast), chapter by chapter. It’s free for you to print and read rather than having to pay the $15.00 RRP.

Why Children Accommodate Secrets about Child Sexual Abuse

Ronald Summit, M.D., a central writer in the area of child sexual abuse, offered a five-part way for us to understand why children keep secrets about and accommodate ongoing sexual abuse. Summit’s model of understanding the secrecy and repeat victimization is the Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome.

When we accommodate something, we put up with, allow it to happen and often even make it happen. Children are no different. Kids accommodate our bad moods, our boring explanations, our rules and even our very bad behaviour toward them. Our partners accommodate bad behaviour from us that they would never accommodate from another person. Why?

We accommodate bad behaviour from people we love because we have a history with them and have knowledge about why they are acting bad, or, we don’t know what to do to make the behaviour cease.

Children accommodate sexual abuse because often they know the perpetrator (85% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by somebody well known to the child) and because they have no idea what to do about it. The child becomes locked into a frozen syndrome of isolation. They may be in trouble if they tell and they are in trouble if they do not tell.

Here is how Ronald Summit categorized children’s behaviour, thoughts and feelings according to his Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome:

  1. Secrecy

  2. Helplessness

  3. Entrapment and accommodation

  4. Delayed, conflicted and unconvincing disclosure

  5. Retraction

Over the next five articles, we will take a closer look at each of Summit’s accommodation categories.

In the meantime, if you are writing in the area of child protection or child abuse, consider submitting to the Carnival Against Child Abuse. The more voices that cry out against child abuse, the quicker we can keep all of our children safe. The next Carnival Against Child Abuse (May edition) will be hosted at this site. Submission information released within the next couple of days.

The Carnival of Australia: ANZAC Day Inaugural Edition

Welcome to the inaugural, ANZAC Day, edition of the

Aussie bloggers unite on this day and salute the fallen diggers, the Anzacs: those who fought for our freedom. Without them, we may not have the opportunity to blog our diverse thoughts, interests and political persuasions: Lest we forget.

Unlike the Seeker's, The Carnival is Over, the Carnival of Australia has just begun.

Let's begin with the ANZAC Day posts:

Laurie Joyce, grandson of an Anzac, presents Bill Joyce - ANZAC posted at Laurie Joyce. Laurie's post contains diary entries written by his grandfather while he served in the First World War. A fascinating look at the life of the Australian and New Zealand Diggers, this post is educational and offers a peek into the mateship that was to become known as the Anzac Spirit.

Megan from Child Protection: Serious Business presents ANZAC DAY. A Black Day in Australian History. Asking us to also remember the Indigenous Australians who fought in the First World War, Megan includes some ANZAC Day facts for those interested in knowing more.

In ANZAC Day Poetry Reading: The Final Inspection, a home schooling family offers a poignant poem that is suitable to read to children this ANZAC Day.

Is home schooling invading Australia? What would the Anzacs make of that? In Schola, American blogger who now resides, and home schools, in the wilds of Far North Queensland, suggests that Aussies "are almost without exception delightful. Helpful, friendly, inclusive, outgoing, real. True blue, as they say. We have made some great friends." Welcome to Australia Lynne and family. I hope the spirit of ANZAC continues to please you.

What is Anzac Day without Anzac biscuits? Here's an Anzac Biscuits recipe from Janda Gooding, Senior Curator of Art at the Australian War Memorial and co-blogger to George Lambert: Gallipoli and Palestine landscapes.

The ANZAC spirit of mateship is not just a urban myth. In Get the book!, Aussie Gillian at the School of St Jude gives of her own 'mateship' to ensure the blogosphere stays aware of what is happening in Tanzania. Importantly, the Australian founder of St Jude’s is currently touring her own home country of Australia. Gemma Sisia (Australian Story) is criss-crossing the nation to meet the thousands of Aussie supporters who are assisting the fight against poverty through education of disadvantaged children in Tanzania.

Just as our Diggers cared in 1915, so too do many Aussies today. We are a nation of people who give when the chips are down. Emily Turner of World Grows Wide keeps a philanthropic blog and has recently noticed her blog has produced Unexpected benefits to the profile of her employer's website. How's that for a new spin of philanthropy! Perhaps the employer should promote Emily to Corporate Blogger.

Tokyo Girl Down Under, a pom (acronym for Passage of Means) who married a German, lived in Tokyo, moved to Australia, changed the name of her blog AND scored as a Blogger Blog of Note, reflects on only meeting true Aussie Sydneysiders when riding the bus. Australia is such a transient country. Perhaps it's cheaper for locals to live on a bus than buy a house in Sydney. Welcome to Australia Tokyo Girl. Your diversity fits in well!

In Oly and Em's Oz Adventure, an immigrating Pommie couple have gone walkabout in their bus and are keeping a diary of their trip around Australia. Travelling in their VW Kombi, Henry, Oly and Em really are showcasing all Australia has to offer. Just be careful Oly and Em, take heed from the Down Under lyrics offered by Men at Work: "Traveling in a fried-out combie, On a hippie trail, head full of zombie, I met a strange lady, she made me nervous. She took me in and gave me breakfast."

Buzzybee from stock.xchng tells a hilarious story about where Aussie portraits turn up when they are shared as free photo stock. It's a small world, especially when attempting to recover from a broken heart and your company flashes up corporate power point presentations containing photos of your ex! Check it out in it's Funny ... But True ...

Speaking of Stock.XCHNG, the leading FREE stock photo site, they have many Aussie themed photos available to use on your blog posts. Not only have I included a couple of my photographs as free stock, but, I use the site all the time when I need photographs better than I can take myself. Most of the photographs on the Carnival of Australia are courtesy of stock.xchng. I support the Aussie photographers as much as I can.

We breed’em tough down under. Move over Conan the Barbarian here comes Conan the Australian. Conan is an Aussie actor who left Down Under to live in Asia. Down under? Conan must have to bend down to get under everything. He’s 7ft tall! Even though we Aussies apparently suffer from Tall Poppy Syndrome, there won't be many who can reach the head of this tall poppy to knock him down! A prolific writer and keeper of three blogs, Conan Stevens presents:

  1. Bangkok Adrenaline Scriptwriter And Principle Actor - Read The Script Online Now from Conan Stevens Online. This movie is scheduled for release in September.

  2. Conan also presents a good few tips for aspiring actors: Acting - So You Want To Be A Movie Star? posted at Actors And Acting Informational Blog. This post is a real life look at what happens on set.

  3. If you'd like to be as big as Conan the Australian then have a look at Muscle Building The Basics Getting Started posted at Bodybuilding Muscle.
Debriefing, literally, for Australian hospital workers: Australian Emergency Department male nurse, Ian Miller, uses humour and loving as a way to survive the trauma of working in a fast paced, crisis driven environment. In get some loving. posted at impactED, the Aussie sense of humour (dunny humour) keeps Ian sane. WARNING - this post is not for viewing by children.

In a different Australian health vein, Spasmodic Dysphonia presents Dystonia: Identifying and Acknowledging our Limitations. A sufferer of several forms of the debilitating Dystonias, Sue comments that, "It is okay to go easy on ourselves, especially when experiencing pain or discomfort on a regular basis." If you have Dystonia, or know anyone who has, this Aussie's blog is full of information and links to Australian support for Dystonia sufferers.

Does Australia really detest homosexuality? We are such a diverse and accepting race I wouldn’t have thought so but here’s an interesting post from Jack Yoest in America: Same Sex Marriage: A Foreign Precedent? posted at Reasoned Audacity. Jack states, "there is one country that the activists and mainstream media will never mention in this debate: Australia." It was interesting to read Jack's alternative view of Australia.

While on the topic of Australian politics: Roger Hanney presents Silencing Dissent: an interview with Clive Hamilton - April 17, 2007 posted at typing is not activism...., saying, "An interview with executive director of The Australia Institute Clive Hamilton about the politics of silence and compliance in Johnny Howard's Awstrayleeya" Although the Carnival of Australia has a one post per blog policy, I couldn't resist also including Roger's entertaining, ' Under Southern Scars - Australia's new National Vanthem. by "Um" and "er" Vanstone. Roger describes his post by claiming that, "Amanda 'Sgt Schultz' Vanstone could have left us with a competent immigration department, Aboriginal health and well-being at a level superior to that in the third world, and a shred of hope for multiculturalism in Australia. Instead, she's bequeathing us a remix of Land of Hope & Glory. AAAAGH!!!"

And finally...can Aussie bloggers surf the crest of the blogosphere? Problogger, Darren Rowse, is continually asked for a list of 100 Aussie best blogs. With the help of Aussie blogging friends, Craig Harper and Meg from Dipping into the Blogpond, Darren has suggested links to Top Australian Blogs.

That concludes this edition of the Carnival of Australia. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Australia (hosted at Home Schooling Aspergers on May 9, 2007) using our carnival submission form. If you'd like to be a true blue mate, give hosting the carnival on your site a go. Just let me know and I'll book your hosting date. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Help spread the word about the fortnightly Carnival of Australia. Write a post and provide a link back directing other Aussie bloggers to the carnival. Here's an example of how I link back to various Carnivals: A to Z: Ways to Celebrate Family Life.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

ANZAC DAY. A Black Day in Australian History.

Every year on April 25, ANZAC DAY, Australia honours its war dead.

ANZAC is an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. In 1917, the word ANZAC meant someone who fought at Gallipoli. Referring to tough attributes and team skills of Australian and New Zealand soldiers, the word ANZAC eventually came to represent any Australian or New Zealander who fought or served in the First World War.

Allied to Britain, France and Russia, black, white, yellow and brindle Australians volunteered to join the fight against the German, Austria-Hungry and Turkish invasion. Australia, with its meagre population of fewer than five million, attracted 20,000 men within just three months of the outbreak of WWI. All those Australians who enlisted to defend our country and the motherland (England) were volunteers.

In a war lasting just four years, 300,000 Australian men enlisted, of which over 60,000 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner.

During the Second World War, ANZAC Day became a day on which the lives of all Australians lost in war time were remembered. The spirit of ANZAC recognises the qualities of courage, mateship and sacrifice which were demonstrated at the Gallipoli landing.

Each ANZAC Day, hundreds of thousands of Australians attend parades and memorials across the nation to honour the servicemen and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our lasting freedom. That first black day of the Gallopoli landing is now immortalised as a public holiday.

The National Indigenous Times, in The Big Read: Unknown Soldiers , reflects that "every year, these same grateful Australians somehow manage to overlook the contribution of Indigenous people - the black men and women who fought and died for a country that didn't even recognise them as citizens."

On our day of remembrance, lest we forget and as you lay a wreath at the foot of the unknown soldier, please spare a thought for our Indigenous brothers and sisters: the original Aussie battlers who also fought for their country and the right for all of us to live a life free of harm.
Photo borrowed from the National Indigenous Times.

A to Z: Ways to Celebrate Family Life

The 51st edition of the Carnival of Family Life is up at DigitalRichDaily. The Carnival is full of family-related posts from all over the world: an A to Z of difference.

To see how others live family life or to keep your finger on the pulse of all family related posts, be sure to join the weekly Carnival of Family Life.

Consider joining us. I try to submit weekly: an article from this site and one from Home Schooling Aspergers. This week the Carnival of Family Life has included my posts on Gem Sifting and Words to Explain Feelings Following Virginia Tech Shootings.

Submit your family related blog entry to the Carnival and watch your hit statistics grow.

And...if you are an Aussie blogger or are blogging about anything Australian, do not miss the fortnightly Carnival of Australia.

Children Blamed for Child Sexual Abuse

Two children made a complaint against a man that everyone in the town loved. More children came forward and made complaints of sexual abuse. Throughout the investigation, Police also contacted other children, allegedly sexually abused by this beloved townsman. Many of the contacted children admitted that the man had sexually abused them for years.

In the face of overwhelming evidence, the man confessed. Over a long period, he had sexually abused almost every female child he had contact with. Banished from his town by the judicial system and sent to jail in a place far from home, rural anger turned toward the children.

“If you knew he was like that why did you go near him?”
“It’s common sense, you just stay away from danger.”
“Because he was teased by big girls who should know better, we have lost our best worker.”
"The children got together and lied. Look, they're all sad now that he's gone."

The statements resounded in my head; louder, stronger and more convincing that my single voice of; “He was responsible for the abuse, not the kids.”

I left the town exhausted and sad that children are still blamed for sexual assault.

Do you recognise your reactions to child sexual abuse as parallel to what townsfolk were saying?

Child sexual abuse is NEVER the fault of the child.

Tomorrow I will write about the Child Accommodation Syndrome and explain why sometimes children make themselves available for the abuse and why they often do not tell anyone.

Photo of models only. Taken from SXC Photo Exchange

Wedded to a Culture of Child Safety

Our wedding in the rainforest photos were delivered last night. We discussed how much the photographer had enjoyed the differences in the wedding style: the kids, the activities, the total inclusion and participation of guests.

Photographer referred to it as “a true social justice Megan and Paul style wedding.’ It was. We did what suited us and not what preconceived and traditional ideas of weddings commanded. Of major interest to me though was the photographers questions around what motivated us to include so many fantastic activities for children.

Including and caring for children is a culture: a mind set that ensures children’s needs, rights and safety stay uppermost on adult agendas. Many people struggle with this. Often, children are viewed as unimportant, silly or painful.

Pondering this, I can only imagine this thinking as based in models of individual and consumer driven power. Children do not earn money so therefore cannot spend it. Children do not have the vote so therefore cannot influence public and social policy. Children do not have the cognitive or emotional capacity to have a strong voice so therefore cannot use their words to change things. Children will do as they are told and will understand that what we do is best for them.

What happened to my four children? Strong, opinionated, intelligent and passionate, my children have grown into a culture that recognises the worth, the power and the voice of children. If children are not consulted and listened to, then something is amiss.

My children are leaders because I have empowered them and kept them safe every step of the way. Our culture of child safety was not fear based, it grew from an inherent belief that children are human beings with unique views, needs and requirements. I was never scared that bad things would happen to my children and therefore had to lock them up, keep them away from life’s evils. Instead, I understood that safety was a child’s right and that the rest of the adult world needed to change.

Children at the centre of our wedding was a natural progression for us. Our motivation was not forced, but rather, based on our strong belief that children matter. This is the culture that I hope is contagious.

Photo 1 is of my husband singing a wedding speech (Lady Bug's Picnic) with one of our guests.

Below photo is my wedding party: my children.

Magnets are Attracting Danger (CPSC Media Release)

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

April 19, 2007
Release #07-163

CPSC Hotline: (800) 638-2772, CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

Small Magnets Are Injuring Children

CPSC Releases Stronger Warning to Parents

WASHINGTON, D.C. As the number of toys with magnets increases, so is the number of serious injuries to children. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is aware of hundreds of complaints that magnets have fallen out of various toys and at least 33 cases where children swallowed loose magnets and required emergency surgery. In addition, a 20-month-old boy from Seattle, Wash. died.

Of the 33 cases, the children ranged in age from 10 months to 11 years, the majority were older than three, and the majority were boys. All of the injuries led to hospital stays, which ranged from three to 19 days. In nearly all cases reviewed by CPSC, children had suffered intestinal perforations.

In addition to the intestinal injuries from swallowing loose magnets, the CPSC is aware of one case of intestinal perforation after a child swallowed magnetic jewelry that was being worn on the child’s tongue, two cases of intestinal perforations after children swallowed complete components of building sets containing magnets, one aspiration of a loose magnet, and one perforation of the nasal wall from nose jewelry.

Within the past year, the CPSC has conducted five recalls with more than eight million products containing magnets that could come loose and fall out of the product. In the fall of 2006, the CPSC alerted parents to the emerging hazard of magnets. Even so, children continue to be treated in emergency rooms across the country for complications due to ingesting magnets or toy components with magnets.

If two or more magnets, two or more magnet components, or a magnet and another metal object are swallowed separately, they can attract to one another through intestinal walls. When this happens, parents and physicians may think that the materials will pass through the child. But with magnets this is often not the case. The magnets become trapped in the body and can twist or pinch the intestine, causing holes, blockage and infection in the intestine or blood poisoning. All of which can lead to death.

The CPSC is working with manufacturers, the toy industry and other stakeholders to protect children from the dangers of magnets. New voluntary standards requirements were approved on March 15th. In addition, the voluntary standards group will continue to consider additional requirements during the next year.

In the meantime, the CPSC is working to help those in the medical community better understand the hazard and how to properly diagnose it.

To help prevent serious magnet ingestion injuries the CPSC recommends:

  • Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect your child may have swallowed a magnet
  • Look for non-specific abdominal symptoms: abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Note that objects in x-rays may appear as a single object that could actually be multiple magnetic pieces separated by trapped intestinal walls
  • Keep small magnets and small pieces containing magnets away from young children who might mistakenly or intentionally swallow them
  • Look out for loose magnetic pieces – regularly inspect toys and children’s play areas for missing or dislodged magnets

CPSC has also prepared a safety alert on the hazard posed by small magnets.

Send the link for this page to a friend! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site at

Words to Explain Feelings Following Virginia Tech Shootings.

Words cannot explain how I feel. This sentence found much overuse in the last two days in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting spree. Further, last night as I watched The Biggest Loser (yes, confessions of a social worker here), I heard a contestant say; “Words cannot explain how I feel.”

We have words to assist us explain how we feel. What we are deficit in is the uses of those words to adequately capture our feelings. Emotional descriptions are neither prized nor welcomed in many situations so as a group we have trained ourselves not to use emotional words in fear we are neurotic, girlie or silly: outcasts in a world that values non-emotional language.

The English language has over two thousand words to describe feelings. Typically, any of us will use only six words in our entire repertoire of descriptive feeling words. Of those six words, they fall into three sets of opposites, for example happy/sad, upset/calm, scared/peaceful.

Emotional intelligence includes being able to clearly articulate how we are feeling. Emotional intelligence, in part, is the ability to express our deep grief, fear, sickness, disillusionment and bewilderment over the Virginia Tech shootings. Emotional intelligence involves pinpointing how we feel when voted off the Biggest Looser and giving those feelings a voice.

Without a voice, the feelings grow and take us over. The feelings prevent us from doing certain things because we may be scared, confused and emotionally impoverished. Without a voice to say how they are feeling prior to bad things happening, our children may be at grave risk of harm.

Do not allow your children to develop a monotone, “words cannot explain how I feel,” dialogue. Give children the tools to identify and articulate the feelings inside of them. Teach them the subtle differences between feeling layers. Teach them a multitude of words so that they can adequately explain to you how they feel about the unusual behaviours of that fringe dwelling, female stalking, and odd person at college. The more emotional language children have, the more their messages of concern have positive action impact prior to bad things happening.

To manage personal risk, we require knowledge of how others are feeling. We can only definitely know how others are feeling if they can clearly communicate what is going on in the space that nobody else can see: their emotional self.

The formula for clear communication is:

  1. I feel (insert a feeling word, not a thought)

  2. when you/I (state the behaviour of the other person)

  3. because (your thoughts on the way you see the situation).

I feel desolate when I hear that others have inadequate words to describe their feelings because emotional intelligence can help to keep people (particularly our children) safe.

Emotional intelligence is a tool we can gift our children to offer them control from emotional perpetrators in an out of control world. To learn more about how to do this, practice the suggestions in Teaching Emotional Intelligence for Personal Safety and Clear Communication.

When bad things happen to good people, clearly state how you are feeling about it. Using the formula for clear communication (I feel/felt…when you/I…because…), leave a message here for all those affected by the killing of innocent young people at Virginia Tech.

Squeaky Books May Help Keep Kids Safe

This is a protective behaviour, bibliotherapy story to read to children to help them learn how to say, "NO." There are no guarantees that a squeaky book will keep your kids safe, but it is an example of how innovative you can be in beginning to teach protective behaviours in a non threatening way.

The storybook duck that quacked me safe.
(taken from my writings at Helium)

Quiet like a queen walking, Granddad snuck into my room. He woke me up when he sat on my bed and stroked my hair. Because it was dark, he said he couldn't see where my head was and he accidentally stroked my bosom too. Silly Granddad.

Mummy told me if he EVER did anything like that, I had to get my storybook duck onto him. Mummy bought me a special squeaky book, full of quacking duckies. She showed me how to hide it under my pillow and how to keep pressing the mother duck so that it would make big quacks to wake up Grandma and scare silly Granddad away. Mummy said that the storybook and Grandma would help keep me safe. It was like a safety alarm.

I love Granddad and I like it when he tells me I'm his special princess. He told me his princess love kisses were our special secret. Mummy also told me it's not good to have secrets. Secrets can make kids sad. It is better to have surprises. They're like a good secret that ends on an extra special day: like a birthday or Christmas. On those days, you can blab to everyone about what's inside the pretty wrapped present - even if the present is a big tarantula. I like surprises because there's always cake and soft drink. Like at birthday parties. They're cool.

Mummy said when she was a kid she had secrets. The secrets got like scrambled eggs in her head and heart and made her cry all the time. Mummy didn't have nice people near her, not even Granddad and Grandma. Nobody helped her give her secrets a bath to clean them up. My Mum had to walk around with scrambled eggs in her head for 20 years. Yuk. Because the secret scrambles smelt so much Mummy went to a doctor to help fix them. She went to a talk doctor. I don't know how the talk doctor washed out her mind. Maybe he talked to her while he stuck a cleaner in her ear and hosed out her mind.

The talk doctor talked to Grandma too and finally Grandma believed about the stuck egg in Mum's head. I don't know why Granddad had to go away to clean his scrambled eggs but it took almost a whole year to get him cleaned up. Mummy was still a bit dirty inside her head and she said that she didn't trust anyone anymore, 'specially Granddad.

When it was time for the new little baby to come out of Mummy's tummy she had to ring Grandma to come and look after me. Grandma wouldn't come without Granddad. Grandma told Mummy that Granddad had promised not to cook me scrambled eggs. Mummy said Grandma was sort of safe and that Grandma would bonk Granddad over the head if he tried to play secret games with me. Grandma hates ducks and if she hears one quacking, she'd grab her broom and come to chase it away. So, Mummy bought me a squeaky duck storybook as our surprise noise to wake up Grandma. Because it was a surprise, I could not quack it just any old time. No sir!

Yesterday, when Granddad snuck into my room like a Queen walking, I kept pressing my squeaky book. In the middle of the night mother duck's quacks were very loud. When Grandma came running in she must have forgotten the broom. She sure bought her voice though! She yelled at Granddad. She told him she was going to divorce him. I know what that is because that's what happened to my Dad too! That's scary.

Grandma must have really hated ducks because she called the Policemen. The Policemen took Granddad to sleep somewhere else and Grandma slept in my bed with me. The Policemen said it was time for me to be safe and that Grandma had done a good thing. They said that Granddad did a very bad thing because he touched my private bosom.

When Mummy bought the baby back to live with us, we all called him Duckie. His real name was Duke and he was ugly, a bit yellow and all wrinkled up: an ugly duckie! Mummy said that Duke would never meet Granddad and that we wouldn't have to teach Duke about surprise duck sounds to keep him safe. I don't think Duke would need a squeaky duck book because he scares people away with his crying!

The end. No more to tell because Duke is making too much noise.

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For further information on the services provided by RSG for employment in the United Kingdom or Australia please forward your enquiry or CV to or view our website.

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Risk Factors and Indicators of Child Abuse.

Although every family's circumstances are different, there are a few risk factors and indicators that may suggest a higher probability of child abuse. However, just because the risk factors are present, it does not mean that children will be harmed. Risk factors and indicators are used as a measure of assessing substantial risk, not actual abuse.

These are some of the risk factors associated with possible child abuse:

  1. social or geographic isolation of the child, young person or family, including lack of access to extended family,

  2. previous abuse or neglect of a brother or sister,

  3. family history of violence including domestic violence,

  4. physical or mental health issues for the parent or caregiver affecting their ability to care for the child or young person

  5. the parent or caregivers' abuse of alcohol or other drugs affecting their ability to care for the child or young person,

  6. Single parent families where the parent has multiple friends come to stay.

When first learning about child abuse, most people immediately ask for the indicators of child sexual abuse. It is important to remember that there are four different types of abuse: Neglect, Emotional, Physical and Sexual, and that sometimes, the indicators of the different types of abuse look the same.

While there are common physical and behavioral signs that may indicate any of these types of abuse, the presence of one of these signs does not necessarily mean abuse or neglect. When I am assessing for likelihood of abuse, I look for clusters of the signs. If I see many of the signs together, I begin to suspect abuse and I report to a Government body (Police or Welfare) who can investigate and protect the child. It is neither my, or your job, to investigate. Child protection is a community concern and as a community member it is our responsibility to report: not to prove or punish.

The signs below are POSSIBLE signs of abuse. Remember that the presence of these signs does not necessarily mean abuse has been, or is, occurring. If you have concerns then you should report them to the Welfare Agency in your State, or to the Police.


Signs in children

  • Low weight for age and/or failure to thrive and develop,

  • untreated physical problems e.g: sores, serious nappy rash and urine scalds,

  • extreme anxiety about being abandoned, which is not age-appropriate,

  • child not adequately supervised for their age,

  • scavenging or stealing food and focus on basic survival,

  • poor standards of hygiene, i.e., child consistently unwashed,

  • extended stays at school, public places, other homes,

  • extreme longing for adult affection,

  • poor or pale complexion and poor hair texture.

Signs in parents or caregivers

  • Unable or unwilling to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical attention, safe home conditions,

  • leaving the child without appropriate supervision,

  • abandonment of child,

  • withholding physical contact or stimulation for prolonged periods,

  • unable or unwilling to provide psychological nurturing.

Sexual Abuse:

Signs in children

  • Child or child's friend telling you about it, directly or indirectly,

  • describing sexual acts,

  • going to bed fully clothed,

  • sexual knowledge or behaviour inappropriate for the child's age,

  • regressive behaviour e.g: sudden return to bed-wetting or soiling,

  • bruising or bleeding in the genital area,

  • sexually transmitted viruses,

  • bruising to breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen or thighs,

  • self-destructive behaviour e.g: drug dependency, suicide attempts, self-mutilation,

  • child being in contact with a known or suspected perpetrator of a sexual assault,

  • anorexia or over-eating,

  • adolescent pregnancy,

  • unexplained accumulation of money and gifts,

  • persistent running away from home.

Signs in parents or caregivers

  • Exposing a child to prostitution or pornography or using a child for pornographic purposes,

  • intentional exposure of a child to sexual behaviour of others,

  • previous conviction or suspicion of child sexual abuse,

  • coercing a child to engage in sexual behavior with other children,

  • verbal threats of sexual abuse,

  • denial of adolescent's pregnancy by family.

Physical abuse:

Signs in children

  • Bruising to face, head or neck, other bruising and marks which may show the shape of the object that caused it e.g: belt buckle, hand print,

  • lacerations and welts,

  • explanation of injury offered by the child is not consistent with the injury,

  • adult bite marks and scratches,

  • abdominal pain caused by ruptured internal organs, without a history of major trauma,

  • fractures of bones, especially in children under three years old,

  • burns and scalds (including cigarette burns),

  • drowsiness, vomiting, fits or retinal hemorrhages, which may suggest head injury,

  • multiple injuries or bruises,

  • swallowing of poisonous substances, alcohol or other harmful drugs,

  • dislocations, sprains, twisting,

  • general indicators of female genital mutilation which could include: having a special operation, difficulties in toileting and reluctance to be involved in sport or other physical activities where the child was previously interested.

Signs in parents and caregivers

  • Explanation of injury offered by the parent is not consistent with the injury,

  • a parent or caregiver says that they fear injuring their child,

  • family history of violence,

  • history of their own maltreatment as a child,

  • frequent visits with their child or children to health or other services with unexplained or suspicious injuries,

  • swallowing of non-food substances or with inner complaints.

Emotional abuse: All types of abuse and neglect harm children psychologically, but the term 'emotional abuse' applies to behavior which destroys a child's confidence.

Signs in children

  • Constant feelings of worthlessness about life and themselves,

  • persistent running away from home,

  • inability to value others,

  • lack of trust in people,

  • lack of people skills necessary for daily functioning,

  • extreme attention-seeking behaviour,

  • other behavioural disorders e.g: bullying, disruptiveness, aggressiveness,

  • exposure to domestic violence,

  • suicide threats or attempts.

Signs in parents or caregivers

  • Constant criticism, belittling, teasing of a child, or ignoring or withholding praise and attention,

  • excessive or unreasonable demands,

  • persistent hostility and severe verbal abuse, rejection and scapegoating,

  • belief that a particular child is bad or 'evil',

  • using inappropriate physical or social isolation as punishment,

  • domestic violence.

Remember, the above are only possible signs of abuse. The presence of these signs does not necessarily mean abuse and neglect has been, or is, occurring. If you have concerns you should report them, now, and allow trained investigators to work out the difference between your fear and the truth.

If you live in Queensland Australia, all forms of child abuse should be reported to either the Department of Child Safety or to your local Police.

Some other articles to help you:

Understanding protective behaviors in keeping children safe

Family Talk - A Way to Prevent Child Abuse

What Can I Do if My Child Tells Me Someone Has Done Bad “Sex” Things to Them?

How Do I know if a Child is Being Abused?

How to Show Support of Being Against Sexual Violence.

Supporting the end of sexual violence need not cost you anything. From the comfort and safety of your own home you can join the global call for an end to rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Learn what others have to say about sexual violence. Submit you own voice, thoughts, research or ideas. Participate in the Carnival Against Sexual Violence. The twenty first edition contains twenty nine separate posts from writers, survivors and people who give a damn.

I do not accept that only 29 people in the blogosphere care about ending sexual violence. I receive daily emails from people wanting to know what they can do, how they can do it, and whether their thoughts are representative of the wider community.

If those emails were turned into submissions for the Carnival of Sexual Violence then the collective voice of those concerned with the rising statistics of sexual violence would indeed resound strongly throughout the blogosphere.

Sexual Violence must end. Are you willing to help end it by making a public statement in support of those who fight against domestic terrorists? Male and Female domestic terrorists come well furnished with their accepted arsenals of penises, fingers, looks, mouths and words? Non domestic terrorists carry the same weaponry, we just choose to use our weapons differently: for good rather than bad.

The Carnival Against Sexual Violence Edition 22, looks forward to receiving your blog, your support and your power to bring about change.

The Carnival of Australia Call for ANZAC Day Submissions

Submit yours, or another Aussie bloggers post to the Carnival of Australia by April 23, 2007: The Carnival of Australia Begins.

Celebrating the diversity of the land, people and views of down under, the Carnival of Australia has Kangaroo hopped onto the virtual carnival stage of Aussie bloggers and those who blog about Australia. The inaugural carnival will partially focus on ANZAC Day and we welcome blogs informing others about ANZAC celebrations in other countries.

Submission form here for those fair dinkum about showing the Aussie character of mateship and helping out. If you are an Aussie blogger or a blogger who has written about anything Australian then, c'mom Aussie, c'mon, c'mon.

Parents Responsible for Child Abuse and Neglect

Media Release
Minister for Child Safety
The Honourable Desley Boyle

Dads and Mums responsible for child abuse and neglect.

The Department of Child Safety's third annual performance report shows that women, just as much as men, are responsible for child abuse and neglect in Queensland, though the patterns of abuse between the sexes is different.

Child Safety Minister Desley Boyle has tabled the Child Protection Queensland 2005-06 Performance Report in State Parliament.

Ms Boyle said the report, which measures the performance of Queensland's child protection system, showed that Child Safety Officers were generally doing a good job.

"In the vast majority of cases, even with incomplete and conflicting information, our Child Safety Officers are making the right decisions".

"The Children Services Tribunal received 182 requests to review decisions made by the Department of Child Safety in 2005-06. It finalised 150 cases and only eight were set aside or varied. "

The report shows there were 13,184 substantiated cases of harm or risk of harm to children in 2005-06, down from 17,307 in 2004-05. In 2005, there were 973,475 children (aged 0-17) in Queensland.

"People may be surprised to hear that women, just as much as men, are responsible for child abuse," Ms Boyle said.

"We have an idealised image of mothers - that they feed their kids before themselves - but I'm sorry to say, it's not always true.

"Some mothers choose to spend their (albeit meagre) money on cigarettes and alcohol and give healthy food for their children a lower priority."

Of the 13,184 substantiated cases of harm or risk of harm, women account for more than half - or 7319 cases. Women are more likely than men to be responsible for child neglect.

"Women and men are roughly equal in responsibility for physical and emotional abuse however men are more likely to be responsible for sexual abuse (663 cases) than women (63 cases)."

Ms Boyle said it was important that children who had been abused got help quickly so they could start to heal.

"For too many years sexual abuse has been swept under the carpet. Children who did speak up were too often not believed or even ridiculed. "

So children not only had to deal with the actual abuse, but also with the fact that one or the other parent knew and failed to protect them.

"Today, more than ever, sexual abuse is being brought into the open. Communities all over Queensland are making it plain that sexual abuse is not okay, that perpetrators should be punished and that children should be given protection and support."

The report shows of the 13,184 cases of harm or risk of harm in 2005-06, there were:

• Physical - 1412 cases perpetrated by men and 1358 by women;

• Sexual - 663 cases perpetrated by men and 63 by women;

• Emotional - 2972 cases perpetrated by men and 2615 by women and;

• Neglect - 799 cases perpetrated by men and 3283 by women.

• The perpetrator was unknown in 19 cases.

"Too many children are being hurt and too many parents are not doing the right thing," Ms Boyle said.

She said substantial changes had been made to Queensland's child protection system, which steps in to protect children who have been harmed or are at risk and whose parents are unable or unwilling to protect them.

"The Department of Child Safety, with the help of its government and community partners, has now implemented all 110 Crime and Misconduct Commission recommendations.

"Each recommendation represents significant changes to systems, procedures, staffing and services," she said.

"However no matter how good the child protection system is, the responsibility to love and care for and protect children falls primarily to parents and families.

"Only when they realise that nothing matters more than their children can we be sure that children will be safe," she said.

End of Media Release 11 April 2007

What's your view on the differences between men and women abusing children? I am interested to hear your thoughts.

Wedding in the Rainforest

Paul and I got married on March 31, 2007, Paul's 40th birthday. It was a truly beautiful and inclusive day.

Returning from our honeymoon on the absolutely fabulous Norfolk Island was difficult. We had such a fantastically relaxing time that neither of us wanted it to end.

Paul started work again yesterday and I start today. I will begin child protection blogging again tomorrow (yes, I'm trying to extend my wonderful holiday. We had to delay the start by a day because of the tsunami alert so I think it's fair to stick in an extra day off).

Thanks to all who forwarded good wishes to us for our married life together. They worked; the day, and ceremony, were just perfect.

Here's a few different blogs (done by guests) about our wedding in the rainforest:

The Wedding in Rainforest and Waterfall Mist

Day 62: Cairns - Mungalli Falls

Just Married

Wedding in the Rainforest

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