We all want our kids to be safe. We strive to give them the best and protect them from the dangers of the world. For many of us, those threats are hitting closer to home each day. If you watch the news or scan your Facebook feed odds are you have seen a good bit of the raising issue with people attempting to kidnap kids. No longer is the big risk people you know. But how do you keep your kids safe? These safety tips will help protect your child.
Start with simply training your child and yourself to pay attention to surroundings. In today’s world kidnappers have it easy. Both parents and kids are distracted day in and day out by devices in our hands. No longer to we look around constantly while walking, or follow our children through the playground. Visit any park, and you will find parents and even kids zoned into cell phones. Not one of them would notice if someone was grabbed until it was too late.
Talk to your child about NOT taking ANYTHING from someone they do not know without talking to you. So often we send kids a very complex signal. “Don’t take candy from strangers” only to take them door to do on Halloween to do just that. Kids will take this literally and may not see a danger in being offered a toy or puppy because mom and dad only told them not to take candy.
Tell your child to never go with someone unless you have told them too. It is so easy for someone to tell your child you sent them to pick your child up from school. Let your child know that if you ever have to need to send anyone to get them, you will call the school, and your child’s teacher will let them know who is picking them up. This way your child will know that if they were not told by a school official they should not trust anyone you did not tell them about first.
Teach your child to say where they can see you and set clear boundaries. If you tell your child to stay where you can see them, they may not know where the limits are. By being clear and direct, your child will know where they can and can not go with no confusion.
Do not put name tags, and labels on your child’s backpack, clothing, or items they carry out in the open. While monogrammed bags are cute, they put your child in danger by allowing a stranger to use your child’s name to convince them they are safe. It does not take much for a child to forget they have their name on display.
Teach your child what to yell if someone grabs them. Often our first impulse if to scream for help. Today most people will ignore a cry for help not wanting to “get involved.” The trick is to teach your child to draw attention. While on the day to day basis you may tell your child not to use curse words and yell “this is not my mom/dad” if a stranger is grabbing your child. By yelling out bad words, they draw the attention of nosy people that will look to see what is going on. With all eyes on them, the attacker is more likely to run.
Teach your child to make it hard to get them anywhere. While your child may have their mouth covered by an attacker they still have a way to fight back. Squirm, kick, elbow, and headbutt to make holding onto them difficult. Often this type of movement not only makes taking your child to a new location hard it makes it draws the eyes of others. If the attacker feels they have been spotted, they are more likely to drop your child and run.
Teach your child never to go out alone. Just like everyone else, children in groups is safer. A lone child walking home from school is easy to grab without anyone noticing. Kidnappers need time to get your child to a new location, and that means they need people not to see them catch the child, scream for help, or report what they have seen right away.