10 Safety Tips for Kids
1. Teach your child how to use a cell phone, telephone and pay telephone to make both local and long distance calls. Also, teach them your full legal name and theirs, your full telephone number including area code, and how to call home, the police, "0" for the operator, and "911."
2. Update photos and physical description in the home file of your child regularly: four times per year for children under age 2. Include information about extracurricular activities and friends, their addresses and telephone numbers. Have a set of their footprints or fingerprints taken and be able to locate dental or medical records if necessary.
3. Know where your children are at all times. Never leave them unattended in a public place, car, store, or restroom. Take note of what your child wears every day. Avoid putting a name on the outside of clothing, books, backpacks, or cars. Children respond more readily to someone who calls them by name.
4. Be sure your child knows what to do if you become separated while shopping. Instruct them never to look for you or leave the store, go to the parking lot, or hide if scared. Tell them to go to the nearest store clerk or security officer for help.
5. Explain to your child who a stranger is. Being polite to strangers is okay, but they are allowed to say NO when adults ask for assistance. Children should never get into or go near the home or car of someone they do not know, nor take gifts from them. Be aware of who pays an unusual amount of attention to your child. Listen to your child if he or she does not want to be left alone with someone.
6. Choose a secret code word to use with your child in case of emergency. Explain that he or she should go only with someone who knows this word. Stress that the word should be kept secret and changed frequently. Instruct your child's school or daycare center to notify you immediately if your child is absent, and who is authorized to pick him or her up.
7. In a matter-of-fact, non-threatening way, explain the many tactics possible abductors use to lure children away and how to respond. Ask your child to tell you about uncomfortable situations, like being asked to keep a secret or about meeting any new adults.
8. Walk your child's route to and from school, pointing out dangerous spots, such as vacant lots, alleyways, etc. Encourage the child to use the buddy system and tell him or her what to do if a stranger follows or approaches.
9. Be cautious when selecting anyone who will be responsible for your child. Meet with that person and check references. If left at home, make sure the child knows the proper way to answer the telephone and the door in your absence.
10. Let your child know you are willing to talk and listen to anything he or she may wish to report. Children should trust their feelings and know that you are always concerned for their safety.
Reprinted with Permission
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All Rights Reserved. Last Modified 07/10/2017.