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Posted 17 June 17
Nannies train to protect kids from terrorism and kidnap attempts
IT looks like Mary Poppins meets James Bond but this training is deadly serious.
Nannies are now being taught how to cope with extreme emergencies including terrorism or attempted child abductions.
While such security was once only for nannies to the royals or high-profile families, a growing number of Australian nannies are signing up for the classes. Mr Neves instructs Ms Hamilton on defensive moves. Picture: Dylan Robinson
The lessons include reading body language, self-defence including defensive driving and, most importantly, being alert and prepared for anything with young charges in tow.
“You’re more vulnerable when caring for someone else’s child,” Australian Nanny Association president Annemarie Sansom said.
“A lot of the training is about contingency planning and being aware of your surroundings to avoid panic.”
Nannies from agencies Night Nannies and White Glove Services started the training at Bondi last week, with the first lesson when faced with danger: “Don’t worry about trying to save the Bugaboo pram — remove your children first.”
Other tips include keeping car keys and phones in pockets, not bags, and being aware of cyber risks. Recent terror events had focused attention on the need for constant “situational awareness”, Ms Sansom said.
“The specialist security trainers go through scenarios and planning with the nannies. It could be that someone approaches the child in a park — last year there was an attack on a baby in a pram,” she said. Nannies Lauren Hamilton (back left) and Madeline Sweeney with Frederike Klaar and Giorgia Masia (front) train in self-defence. Picture: Dylan Robinson
“We never want to see a nanny in a situation like this but the whole idea is prevention.
“If a predator is in a park and they do snatch a child, nannies are told not to just scream, but to shout: ‘I don’t know that person! Stop them!’
“The advice is to forget about materialistic items, dump those and remove yourself and the child from the situation.”
The training also included safety driving, Ms Sansom said.
Private nanny use in average Australian families has grown “substantially” in the past decade, with many now using a combination of childcare and nannies.
Up to 30,000 people work as paid carers in the home, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data which also includes paid grandparents.
In the UK, famed Norland College which has trained royal nannies, also now has terrorism training. Nanny Frederike Klaar takes a break from training to play with 23-month-old Pauline at her Northmead home. Picture: Jonathan Ng
White Glove Services director Scarlett Hyde said it was no longer only high-profile families at risk.
“Thankfully we are in Australia but at the end of the day you’re at risk no matter where you are,” Ms Hyde said. “We have to make sure that the girls we are putting into any roles for our clients are at the top of their field.”
Ms Sansom said: “If we had had this conversation 12 months ago, people might have thought it was over the top but we have got to the point where we have to be prepared for anything.”
Nanny Frederike Klaar, 36, who usually specialises in sleep training, said the security classes were “an eye-opener”.
“I had incident last year at a park, so I found the training very interesting,” Ms Klaar said.
“I had a one-year-old bub with me and this man came up and kept smiling and circling around and coming closer ...
“You just don’t know what’s around the corner. There was some interesting advice given, such as keeping an old spare phone charged and leaving it in the car for emergencies.”