A missing child is a parents' greatest nightmare. In order to keep our children safe, here are some tips to consider:
Tips for Parents
- Do not dress your child with hats and T-shirts with their name on them. It’s easy to convince a child ...that the adult knows them by using the child’s name. Put labels on the inside of clothes, out of sight, but where they can be found if needed
- Reinforce that strangers come in all shapes and sizes - including people who act friendly. For younger children who may not easily grasp the concept of a stranger, teach them who is not a stranger first, and then explain that everyone else is.
Teach your children:
- To know their full name, age, telephone number, area code, city and province.
- How to phone long distance in an emergency, by dialing direct or with the operator’s assistance.
- How to contact you, or another close relative in an emergency. How to contact a trusted neighbor, police, fire or ambulance services and when to make these calls.
- When children are home alone they should tell phone callers that you are there, but you are busy and cannot come to the phone. The phoning party can call back later. Teach your child to cut short any phone calls with strangers and hang up the telephone if a stranger continues to talk.
- When children are home alone, find out the identity of the person who comes to the door, without opening the door. If a stranger is at the door, teach your children to tell the stranger that your are busy, and he/she should go away and come back later. Teach your child not to engage in conversation with the visitor. If the child feels threatened, teach him to phone an emergency number. Emergency numbers could be your telephone number at work, that of the police or a trusted neighbor who will be home.
- Where possible, your children should play and walk with other children.
- Your children should always ask your permission before accepting gifts from strangers.
- To avoid situations where strangers may approach your child alone, such as an unsupervised play area, empty lots, abandoned buildings, bushy area of parks, creeks and riverbeds.
- To run home or to the nearest public place, or a neighbour’s home, if someone is following or frightening your child.
- If someone follows your child in a car , on foot or frightens them , they should turn around and get away. Run home, to a neighbour’s or to a the nearest public place such as a school, store, or office. Your child should also try to remember what the driver and car looked like or its licence number.
- (I love this one!) Adults Should Seek Help From Other Adults NOT from Children - If you are asked for help, tell the adult you will help, by getting your teacher, or parent or some other adult to help them. Explain to your child that both men and women are strangers.
- If your child becomes separated from you in a store or shopping mall, to go directly to a store employee or cashier for help.
- That police officers who wear uniforms are their friends and that they can be trusted if your child is in trouble. It is for this reason that you should never use the police as a threat to your child. This will confuse their image of the police.