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  • Tips for parents

  • Safety Tips for Parents

    • Communication is the key to keeping kids safe

    The most important thing you can do to keep your child safe is to keep the lines of communication open. Ask questions, listen to your children and encourage them to be open with you. Let them know that you will believe them and you will be there if they need your help.

    Tips for parents

    Here are some simple steps parents can take to keep kids safe.

    1. Don't make the mistake of thinking that only young children are vulnerable. Adolescents and teenagers are also at risk.

    2. Set a curfew for your child or teen.

    3. Know your child's friends and their parents. Keep an updated list of friends' addresses and telephone numbers.

    4. Designate a "back-up" family member or trusted friend kids can call if they are unable reach you.

    5. Make sure your child knows what to do if he or she becomes separated from you in a public place. Every time you visit a crowded or public place, point out information centers, staff members with name tags and police officers so kids know where to go for help.

    6. If a child abduction happens in the neighborhood or is on the news, use the opportunity to re-explain safety rules, so that your child will know what to do in a similar situation.

    7. Be aware. Know your neighborhood and your neighbors. Know about your child's day care centers, babysitters, youth organizations and sports teams, and the people who run them.

    8. If you use a day care center, make sure the center is licensed and learn how its staff members are screened. Parents should be able to come and go as they wish. Visit the center unannounced and observe the staff and activities.

    9. Never allow your child or teen to carry items or wear clothing or jewelry with their name on it.

    10. Never let your child enter a public restroom alone. Always accompany younger children and make sure older children and teens are accompanied by a friend.

    11. Keep accurate and complete information about your child on hand at all times. Always carry a current photograph of your child, regardless of the child's age. Make a mental note of what they are wearing each day so you will be able to accurately describe it.

    12. If your child is missing, report it immediately?do not wait.

    What to teach your child

    Teach your child safety skills and practice with them. Use "what if" safety scenarios to see if your child knows what to do. Remember to always speak to your child in a calm manner. Keep in mind that you don't have to frighten your child to get the point across; fear can actually work against you.

    If a child abduction occurs in your neighborhood or is in the news, and your child asks you about it, speak honestly, but with reassurance. Use the opportunity to review the following safety rules with your child, so that he or she will know what to do if faced with a similar situation.

    Things kids should know in order to protect themselves:

    1. Where they can and can't go in the neighborhood. Make sure kids know whose home they are allowed to visit without you. Teach them to contact you immediately if they will be out later than their curfew.

    2. Their name, address, telephone number, how to use a telephone and how to dial "911" in case of an emergency. Even young children should know these things. If you have a cell phone, make sure your child has the number and that the phone is always turned on. Teach them to call the designated "back-up" family member or trusted friend if they are unable to reach you.

    3. That the same safety rules still apply as kids get older, including using the "buddy system" and letting you know where they are at all times.

    4. What to do if they become separated from you in a public place. Your child should not look for you?it will be obvious that they are wandering around alone.

    5. To always keep the door locked when home alone and not to open the door for anyone. Make sure your child knows not to tell anyone who calls or comes to the door that they are home alone.

    6. That adults do not need to ask children for directions or for help finding a puppy or kitten. Teach your child that it is okay to be suspicious of an adult who seems too friendly.

    7. That because someone knows their name it doesn't mean the child should trust that person.

    8. To trust their instincts. If someone approaches them or tries to take them away, they should yell, "this is not my mother/father!" Teach your child that it is okay not to be polite in this case.

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