PANTS: Your questions answered

As you talk PANTS with your child, it's natural for them to have some questions. We've got advice to help you answer them accurately and in an age appropriate way.

Tips and advice on Talking PANTS

We've answered some common questions that parents have asked us. And we've got tips on how to answer questions your child may ask you.

Questions from parents

We’re not here to upset or scare families, Talk PANTS is all about giving child-friendly practical and reassuring advice. Our resources help children understand what is and isn’t OK, without ever mentioning sex or using scary words.

All the information we’ve provided has been developed with parents and experts in parenting and child protection. And with Pantosaurus and our exciting activities, children can learn in a fun way.

If a child tells you about something that's happened to them after talking PANTS, it could be very difficult for both of you, and you might not know what to do next. 

We've got advice to help you take the next steps. 

To learn more, visit

What to say to a child and how to respond:

If your child says something that worries you in any other way, your initial response is really important. You should try to stay calm. Whatever you think and feel, it’s about reacting with love, support, openness and reassurance. If your child tells you something, whether it’s about them or a friend, know that it’s probably a huge relief for them to be able to tell you.

You know your child best and how you respond will depend on the situation and the circumstances. But it may be appropriate to say:

  • Thank you for talking to me about this. You can always talk to me about anything that is worrying you.
  • What happened was horrible but it’s not your fault. No child should ever be treated like that.
  • I’m here to help and look after you and I’m taking what you say very seriously. I’m going to think about what you said and I may need to get advice from someone who knows about these things.
  • If you remember anything else or are worried, come and talk to me.

How to support your child:

Listen carefully to what they're saying - 
Be patient and focus on what you’re being told. Try not to express your own views and feelings. If you appear shocked or as if you don’t believe them, it could make them stop talking and take back what they’ve said.

Let them know they've done the right thing by telling you - 
Reassurance can make a big impact. If they’ve kept the abuse a secret, it can have a big impact knowing they’ve shared what’s happened.

Tell them it's not their fault -
Abuse is never a child’s fault. It’s important they hear, and know, this.

Say you'll take them seriously -
They may have kept the abuse secret because they were scared they wouldn’t be believed. Make sure they know they can trust you and you’ll listen and support them.

Don't confront the alleged abuser - 
Confronting the alleged abuser could make the situation worse for the child.

Explain what you'll do next -
Explain you’re going to speak to someone who will able to help.

Report what the child has told you -
It's important to report as soon after you’ve been told about the abuse so the details are fresh in your mind and action can be taken quickly. It can be helpful to take notes as soon after you’ve spoken to the child.

You can contact our Helpline to report abuse, or to receive information and advice about any worries you might have. Our telephone line is open 10am-8pm Monday to Friday on 0808 800 5000 or you can email us at [email protected]

Your child can also get confidential support from Childline by calling free on 0800 1111 or through

If a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999 straight away

It's normal to feel anxious, nervous or unsure about getting in touch with us. We're here to help and take that worry from you. Letting us know you're worried about a child could be the first step to helping protect them.

We know you might feel your child is too young to talk about sex. And that's why Talk PANTS never mentions it…. Talk PANTS is about using simple, child friendly language to give your child the confidence and knowledge to understand what is and isn't ok.

It’s a difficult thing to think about but we know that children are sometimes sexually abused by adults who are family members and by people who are known to them. They can also be sexually abused by young people.

You don’t want to alarm or distress your child and anything you say should be age appropriate for your child.

When talking PANTS with your children you should always emphasise that if anyone (even a member of the family or friend) touches them in an inappropriate way or makes them feel uncomfortable, they should tell an adult they trust.

If you have concerns that your child is being abused you can discuss it with the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000. Our experts are here 24/7 to give advice and support.

Questions from children

Being naked is not a matter of right or wrong or good or bad. It is more to do with the situation and how appropriate it is.

You’ll probably want to discuss these questions, if they are raised, as a family, including the children. Explain that no one should be made to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed or be forced to do something they’re unhappy with. Think about the ages of your children when you’re answering them.

You could say to children:

      • It’s not about “good” or “bad” but more about what is the best way to behave in different situations.
      • You don’t walk down the road with no clothes on, you don’t take a bath or shower with clothes on and you wouldn’t swim in a public swimming pool with no swimming costume.
      • No one should ever be made to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. We need to respect each other’s feelings.
      • If you ever feel uncomfortable or worried talk to me, or another adult you trust such as auntie, uncle, teacher, coach.

Your child can also get confidential support from Childline by calling free on 0800 1111 or through

Like many adults, children may well not understand why anyone would want to touch them under their pants. And you don’t want to frighten them, so choose what you say, and your words, carefully.

Children develop and mature differently. When they’re young keep what you say simple and you can go into more detail as they grow older.

You could say to children:

    • That’s a very difficult question and there’s no one answer that is right - even grown ups don’t agree on the answer.
    • We don’t always know why people want to do some things. But what is important is that you know it’s not OK.
    • Whatever the reason, the most important thing to remember is that it’s never OK for someone to touch you under your underwear. You can always say NO. And you must tell someone you trust if something like this happened.
    • A doctor, a nurse, or someone else whose job it is to look after you, may need to examine you under your underwear but they will always ask for your permission first.

Children should never be made to kiss or be kissed by someone or forced to have hugs, cuddles or sit on someone’s lap against their will. That includes family relations or family friends of all ages.

Talk to your children if they tell you or you see that they don’t want to kiss or be kissed and try and explain that you will help tell the other person.

Children may worry about offending older family members but it’s important that you reassure them that it’s always their choice.

You then may want to have a conversation with the family member or friend and explain how your child feels. You might explain that your child loves or likes them but at the moment doesn’t feel comfortable with physical signs of affection.

Try and find a way your child can still greet your family or friends that suits them such as giving a high five or shaking hands.

You could say to children:

  • Your body belongs to you and it’s always your choice.
  • You don’t have to kiss or cuddle – or be kissed and cuddled – by anyone you don’t want to or who makes you feel uncomfortable, including family members and friends. If you feel that way, you should talk to me about it.


It’s a difficult thing to think about but we know that children are sometimes sexually abused by adults who are family members and by people who are known to them. They can also be sexually abused by young people.

That’s why our Talk PANTS campaign focuses on what is and isn’t OK, regardless of whether the person is known to a child.

You could say to children:

If anyone touches you under your underwear you should tell someone you trust. No one should ever do this. And if anyone, even someone you know, touches you in this way, I want you to tell me or another safe adult who you trust.

Your child can also get confidential support from Childline by calling free on 0800 1111 or through

You could say to children:

Whatever colour your underwear is, it covers up your private parts and no one should ask to see or touch them. If someone does, say ‘no’ and tell me right away. Sometimes, a doctor, nurse or family members might have to. But they should always explain why, and ask you if it’s okay first.

Support from the NSPCC Helpline

If you're worried about a child, we're here to provide support and advice to help you. Whatever your concern, you can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 

Due to an increase in demand across our services, our voice Helpline is currently operating between the hours of 10am–8pm Monday to Friday. You can still talk to us or make an online report by email at any time at [email protected]

Get more support

Worried about a child?

If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, contact our professional counsellors for help, advice and support.

Call us or email [email protected].

0808 800 5000

Report a concern


Childline is our free, confidential helpline for children and young people. Whenever children need us, Childline is there for them – online, on the phone, anytime.

0800 1111