Keeping Your Child Safe

Guidelines Parents

With all the current news media coverage of the recent abductions of children there has been near panic among parents in some areas.  In reality, however, the chances of your child being abducted by a stranger, and kidnapped and held for ransom, sexually molested, or murdered are very rare.  In 2001, for example, 260,000 children were abducted, but only 115 of these (less than 5 in 10,000) were kidnapped and held for ransom, raped or murdered.  The majority of children that were abducted were taken by relatives who wanted custody of the child.   These numbers have been consistent over the past few years. There really has not been an increase in abductions, only an increase in the media's reporting of abductions.  It is still important to do everything you can to keep your child safe, however.  There are many things that can occur, physical injury, sexual molestation, etc.,  if your child is alone or gets into a potentially dangerous situation    There are some things that every parent should teach their children to keep them safe.  Here are a few tips:

1. Make sure your child knows who is safe and who is      not in your neighborhood. 

2. Let them know that if a strange adult asks them for help, that they should get another adult. (Adults don't ask kids for help).

3. Make sure they know to NEVER, EVER, get into a car with a stranger, or to go with a stranger anywhere. 

4. Let them know that if they are approached by a stranger they should make sure they keep a safe distance away, and if something doesn't seem right they should leave, even scream and run away from this person.

5. Teach your child your address and phone number. This can be done at an early age (usually by age 3 or 4).  If you make up a song it will assist in helping young children remember this information. 

6. Make sure you know where your child is at all times, and check on them at regular intervals.  Also, have them check in with you periodically.

7.  Teach your child to call you by name if he/she is lost or separated from you in a crowd.   Yelling "Mommy" in a crowd may easily be overlooked.  Also, let them know that it's ok to yell for help if they feel they are in a dangerous situation, or dial 911 (they can do this from any pay phone without putting any money into it).

8. Make sure they know which adults are ok to approach  for help if they need it, specific neighbors, and the police for example. 

9. Choose your child's friends carefully.  Make sure they are about the same age and that they can be trusted.  Your child is more likely to be sexually assaulted, or physically harmed by someone the child knows in the neighborhood then he/she is to be abducted.

10. Take all of the above precautions then, most importantly stop worrying.   Keep an eye on the child, but try to show too much concern or worry. Your child will pick up on your anxiety.    As Mark Twain once wrote "My life has been filled with terrible catastrophes, most of which never happened."