Essential Child Safety Tips
The FBI estimates that at least 2300 children are reported missing every day. The primary way to help your child to stay safe is to begin educating them about how to react in certain situations and with certain people, beginning at around age 3-4. At this age range, children are open and receptive to learning information, and will retain it for the future.
Please review the following tips with your child, and afterward have your child take our quiz to reinforce understanding about how to act during specific situations.
1. Approach the subject of safety in a non-threatening way. It is important that you don't make your child fearful of situations or people. Instead, teach them to be cautious, to trust their intuition, and therefore be able to recognize when something or someone is not safe.
2. Encourage your child to talk to you when something is bothering them, and to not to keep secrets. Open communication is very important, so really listen to what your child is saying, and discern if there are any issues you need to discuss that they may not vocalize.
3. Let your child know that their body belongs to them, and no one has the right to touch them without permission. If someone is touching them, or making them feel uncomfortable, they should tell you immediately, even if it is a friend, family member, or someone in your community.
4. Inform your child that there are people called "strangers," people that your child does not personally know, nor does anyone in your family, who may attempt to talk to them or to lure them into a vehicle. It is important to impart to your child that a stranger looks like any other person, and is not a monster or a creature, but a regular individual.
Describe the common stranger lures to your child, so they are aware of these situations.
These lures are:
-Pretending to look for a lost dog
-Offering candy, a toy, or money for the child to go into a car
-Telling the child that a family member is hurt, and they must come with them to see them
-Telling the child that if they do not come into the car, that the adult will hurt a family member
-Asking for directions or for information
First and foremost, emphasize that adults do not ask children for help, nor do they threaten them. And that children should never approach an unknown vehicle and get into a car with a person they do not know, no matter what that person says.
If your child encounters any of the above situations, teach them that they should immediately scream, "NO!," run as quickly as they can in the opposite direction, and try to find a trusted adult, even if they have to go to the nearest house and bang on the door. If someone tries to grab them, they should scream, "THIS IS NOT MY PARENT!" to attract attention.
5. Create and share with family members and friends, an easily remembered CODE WORD that your child can use if they are not certain if someone is a stranger. If someone approaches your child and says that they are a friend and must take them to someone, your child can ask for the secret CODE WORD. If the person does not know this code, your child must scream and run away as quickly as possible to a safe area.
6. For protection, it is imperative that you do not label your child's clothing, backpack, or other personal items with their name, as an abductor could use this information to gain trust. If they call your child by his or her name, they may not realize that this person is not an authorized adult, and go with them.
7. Give instructions about what to do if your child gets separated from you at a mall, supermarket, or other public place. If they do not have a cell phone with which to call you, tell them to go to a checkout counter or information desk, or approach a security officer or parent with children, and let them know they are lost and looking for their parent(s).
8. Make sure your child knows his or her full name, address, phone number, your cell phone number, your work number, and also how to call 911.
9. Know where your child is at all times, and keep a list of their friends, addresses, and phone numbers.
10. Keep an up-to-date record of your child's personal and medical information on-hand in case of emergency, such as a ChildPrint ID Kit® or ChildPrint ID Card™. Make sure your child is fingerprinted and that you have recent photos immediately accessible.
11. If your child is missing, try to stay calm. First, check everywhere inside your house, then check with the neighbors and with your child's friends. If you still cannot locate them, then call the police.
THERE IS NO WAITING PERIOD REQUIRED TO REPORT A MISSING CHILD,
SO PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT IMMEDIATELY
Provide the police with a description of what your child is wearing, as well as photographs, personal identifying characteristics, and medical information. If you have our ChildPrint ID Kit®, you can provide that to the police, as it contains all data needed for law enforcement to begin a search.
Request that your child's name be entered into the National Crime Information Center Missing Person File (NCIC), which enables any law enforcement agency in the U.S. to identify them. Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST to have them entered into their database. Post signs around your neighborhood and town with their photo and vital information. Be persistent in your search efforts and stay optimistic that they will be found and returned home safely.
©2017 First Impressions/YourSafeChild.com.
These tips may be distributed provided the author is credited.
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