- Family and Parenting
Keeping our Kids Safe
Another kidnapping in the News
Do you ever feel that watching the news is just too depressing? It is especially saddening to hear of something bad happening to an innocent child. Children are precious, and the future of this world.
As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, schools, and churches, we have to work together to keep our children safe. There is a popular saying that "it takes a village to raise a child". That is very true, but it also takes educating each individual child on safety, and knowing who LIVES IN YOUR VILLAGE.
Sexual predators live in every city and town in America. Some of these people may have been wrongly accused, but it is still important to know who is living in your neighborhood. The government has a website, www.nsopw.gov, where you can enter a zipcode, and find a list of predators within that zipcode.
Teaching Children about Safety
A news show once did a segment where as parents watched, an actor approached their child with a puppy or candy. All of the parents said that they had talked to their children about safety, and were shocked when many of the children went easily with the strangers.
What can we do to get the message to our kids? As a parent, grandparent, and former school nurse, I think it takes education, and repetition, repetition, repetition!!
These rules are not new, and I do not claim to have invented them, but they are good common sense that kids should know.
- Do not talk to strangers, or take any candy or gifts from a stranger. As adults, we should not give candy, without a parent's permission.
- Children should know their name, and their parent's name. They should know their phone number, address, and how to call 911.
- Cell phones are now made for young children, and parent's, grandparent's, and the police can be programmed in to be dialed with one push of a button. If they have a phone, they should have a limited list of friends they are calling.
- Children should know that you would never send a stranger to pick them up from anywhere. On the news show, children often got in a car because they were told that "their mother was sick, and sent me to pick you up." They were also enticed with puppies or candy. They should be taught to never approach a vehicle.
- Children should be taught not to answer the phone, and say that their mother and father are not home. They should be taught to look at the caller ID, and let the answering machine pick up if it is a number they do not know. Then they should call a parent, if the message seemed suspicious. They should keep doors locked if they are alone.
- Teach your child to yell loudly if someone tries to take them. They could also be given a noisemaker or whistle to wear.
- Karate lessons are available for children as young as three. I have known several elementary age children that are black belts.
- Consider getting a dog. I think an abductor cruising the streets, would approach a lone child, before they would approach a group of children, or children with a dog. On the other hand, they should know that if someone did take the dog, not to follow into the car. They should call the police, and mom and dad.
- Establish a neighborhood watch. My community has one, and we are always on the lookout for each other. We bring each others garbage cans in, and notice cars that are not usually on the road.
- Know who your child is talking to on the internet, and have parental controls set. Teach them never to go to meet someone they have met over the internet.
Check for predators near you
- United States Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website
This web site facilitates nationwide searches across available states' and territories' public sex offender registries from a central location.