Since children are back to school and many of them walk or ride their bikes, we wanted to share some safety tips with our community to keep our most precious residents safe and secure.
Parents - Talk With Your Children
As parents, we have many things we have to be aware of and think about on a daily basis. For this article, we're going to focus on keeping children out of the hands of abductors. We don't want you to teach your children to only stay away from strangers, since an abductor could be someone your child knows. The most important thing is to talk with your children.
- Know where your children are at all times. If they are walking home from school, make sure you have a designated route and know the amount of time it should take them to get home.
- Teach your children that they have to check in with you at all times before they go somewhere. If they come home to an empty house because you are at work, make sure they call you and check in.
- Teach your children at an early age key phone numbers, such as home, your work and cell numbers, and 911. Quiz your children to make sure they know the numbers, as well as how to use the phone.
- Show your children safe places they can go in the event they become scared or need help, and you're not around.
- Tell your children if they ever feel scared, they should get away as fast as possible and tell another adult what happened.
- Encourage your children to play with other children. Abductors don't like witnesses.
- If you are visiting somewhere that is crowded, and there is a potential you may become separated from your children, snap a photo at the beginning of the visit so you know what they are wearing and can show law enforcement in the event you need help finding them.
- Let your children know that a dangerous person can look just like a nice person. Encourage children to trust their instincts.
- Teach your children to make the biggest commotion in a store if someone ever tries to take them - Let them know it's okay to throw a tantrum, knock things down, kick and scream.
- Children should not be allowed to play in dimly lit, or secluded areas. Carports, alleys, laundry rooms, public restrooms and dark areas are not meant for un-supervised children.
Teach 'Em "No, Go, Yell, Tell"
Teach your children to tell an abductor "No" when they ask for help or directions, or want your child to get in a vehicle or go into a building with them. Then tell them to "Go" - Run as fast as they can away from the possible abductor. While they are running, tell them to "Yell" as loud as they can. They need to bring attention to themselves, and it's okay to do it in this case! Last, they need to "Tell" an adult what happened.
Passwords Aren't Just For Computers
Above all else, teach your children a password that is only known by those trusted by you and them. Explain that if someone approaches them and says they were told by mom or dad to give them a ride somewhere, they need to ask the person, "What's the password?" If the person doesn't know it, then it's time for them to "No, Go, Yell, Tell."
Help The Police Help Your Child
We know it is often said in good humor, but one of the worst things you can tell a child when you meet a police officer is something like, "You better behave or the police officer is going to take you to jail." By doing this, your child can be formulating the idea that we will take them away from the safety and security of their parents, and that we want to put children in jail. This really is a bad thing, as we want children to know they can come to a police officer any time they are in trouble or need help.
Download a printable version of this article here.