Just about all of my friends have children, as well as most of my cousins. I was just watching an investigative program about abducted and abused children and it got me thinking about all the kids I know, and how I would hate for anything like this to happen to them. The show offered some good information on how to keep children safe and I wanted to post some of that info here.
Most of this stuff is common sense, but maybe as a busy parent you just haven’t had the time to think about any of this. Consider this a friendly reminder. I feel it’s important for parents to teach their children a few simple safety lessons. Sadly, crimes against children are prevalent in this day and age. As a parent, every possible step should be taken to ensure your child’s safety. Please take the time to read this, to discuss rules with your children, and teach them what to do in case of an emergency. Particularly with school-aged children, as they will not be under their parents’ supervision for most of the day.
Teach Children Key Information
Teach your children their full name, address, phone number with area code, parents’ names and work phone numbers. Also teach them how to make an emergency call to you or 911 from a pay phone.
Teach Children About “Safe” Strangers
Children should be taught at an early age what type of stranger is okay to ask for help when they are lost or frightened. Good examples are: a mother with children, a clerk in a store, or a uniformed police officer.
Know Where Your Child Is Going
Children should always inform you before they go anywhere. As a parent, ask the questions: who, what, when, where, why?
The Buddy System
Never let your children go anywhere alone. Remind them that there is safety in numbers and they should always use the buddy system.
Don’t Let Children Be Lured In
Children should be taught not to go near cars or be lured by adults asking for directions, needing help finding something they lost, saying that their parents are in trouble.
Develop a Password System
Children can be very trusting of adults, especially adults with whom they may be somewhat familiar. It is critical that you and your children have a password system. Share the password only with your child, family members and trusted friends, and arrange that any adult who tries to accompany your child must have the password before they will go anywhere with them. Provide your child’s teacher(s) with your contact information and ask that they verify with you if anyone attempts to remove your child from school property, even if it is a friend or family member.
Reinforce Safety Skills
Parents should take every opportunity to reinforce safety skills. If an incident occurs in your community, speak frankly about it and use this time to discuss and re-emphasize the safety rules with them.
Take the Initiative to Be Informed
As a parent, be informed by knowing where the child predators live in your neighborhood. For more information, call 1-800-262-3257 or visit the state Sex Offender Registry Web site at: http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/nso
Know How to Report Your Missing Child
Time is a very critical factor in abduction cases. The first 24 hours are crucial when a child goes missing. When you cannot find your child, you should immediately call local law enforcement and provide your child’s name, date of birth, height, weight, and any distinctive marks such as eyeglasses, braces or scars. Request that your child’s information be immediately entered into the National Crime Information Center’s Missing Person File, and call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1800THELOST.
Always Keep an Up-To- Date Record of Child’s Information and Description
In case of an emergency, it’s critically important to have readily available up-to-date records of your children, including a recent photograph, fingerprints, physical description and even a DNA sample. Parents can contact the local police department to get information on having childrens’ fingerprints and DNA registered and kept on file.
Hopefully you will never have to worry about a missing or lost child. But this is most definitely a case of “better safe than sorry.”