One thing we all worry about as parents is how to keep our kids safe from walking to school to shopping in the mall with friends. We already know as parents that we cannot follow our children everywhere they go, unless they are under the age of 14. But even then if you have more than one child can you really keep your eyes on them at all times. So what is a parent to do? Well here are some basic tips to help keep your kid(s) safe.
A great thing about kids is their natural trust in people, especially in adults. This, of course, can be a good and bad thing. It’s sometimes hard for parents to teach children to balance this trust with caution. However, kids today need to know common-sense rules that can help keep them safe and build the self-confidence they need to handle emergencies.
One thing you also need to keep in mind is most children who are taken are mostly likely going to be kidnapped by someone they know vs. someone they do not. So knowing what to do and how to get help is very important.
1. How to call 9-1-1 or "0" in emergencies. Unbelievably, most children under the age of 6 don’t know how to use a phone. In my house, it is a bit easier for my children to learn how to actually call 9-1-1. I’m lucky enough to have a husband who works for our 911 center. But don’t let not having a family member or friend working for your local 911 center stop you from showing your child how to dial 9-1-1. Just unplug the phone before they push those keys.
2. How to use a public phone. Help them practice making emergency phone calls. Be sure emergency numbers–police, fire, poison control and emergency medical–are by all phones in the house, too.
3. Their full name, address, and phone number (including the area code), plus your work phone number. And from what I understand, most kids need to know this before they start kindergarten or will learn it that year if they do not. Also, if you have cell phones, teach your children these numbers as well.
4. How to walk confidently and stay alert to what is going on around them will help your child not become a target. Or less likely to be.
5. Always to walk and play with friends. A child should never be alone in public.
6. Have a secret word to identify someone you might have sent in an emergency to pick them up. Don’t make this word something someone close to the family can guess. Remember most children are taken by someone they know vs. someone they do not.
7. To refuse rides or gifts from anyone, unless it is someone both you and your child know and trust.
8. To tell a trusted adult immediately if anyone, no matter whom, touches them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Here are two sites that have more information on how to keep kids safe:
Keeping Kids Safe Today
We've traveled the globe and talked to caring parents like you and know what your concerns are about your child's safety. We have the tips, tools, skills and resources for you, a busy parent, for complete safety for your child. More importantly, we can teach you how to teach them to keep themselves safe without fear, paranoia or media hype tactics.
The Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe®)
The Internet Keep Safe Coalition is a broad partnership of governors and/or first spouses, attorneys general, public health and educational professionals, law enforcement, and industry leaders working together for the health and safety of youth online. iKeepSafe® uses these unique partnerships to disseminate safety resources to families worldwide.