Thursday, June 25, 2009

Child Safety

Keep Your Child Safe!

-A child goes missing every 40 seconds
-An estimated 114,600 stranger abductions are attempted each year, with 3,000 to 5,000 of these attempts succeeding.
-Teenagers are most frequent victims of stereotypical kidnappings and non-family abductions.
-34% of U.S. parents do not know their child's exact height, weight and eye color.

According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC):
-The first three hours are most critical when trying to locate a missing child.
-The single most valuable tool in finding a missing child is a good current digital photograph. Create an ID kit for your children -Fill out the info, attach a recent picture, and mark on your calendar 6 mths from now to update it, or sooner if any distinct changes. My daughter recently lost 2 teeth and got a short haircut so she looks different from her recent photo. Sexual exploitation of children is a serious problem, and it may be one of the most underreported crimes.

-An estimated one in five girls and one in ten boys will be sexually victimized before reaching adulthood
-Less than 35% of child sexual assaults are reported to law enforcement
-Just as it’s difficult to pinpoint the number of sexually exploited children, it is also hard to identify potential exploiters. That’s because molesters and sexual offenders come from all walks of life, races, and backgrounds. The dangers to children are greater from someone they or you know, than from "strangers."
-Given all the unknowns it’s important to create an open environment of communication in which your children feel safe to ask questions without shame or judgment. That way they’ll come to you when things aren’t right

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recommends a program called Take 25....take time to teach these 25 things to your children.
-Teach your children their full names, address, and home telephone number. Make sure they know your full name.
-Make sure your children know how to reach you at work or on your cell phone.
-Teach your children how and when to use 911 and make sure your children have a trusted adult to call if they’re scared or have an emergency.
-Instruct children to keep the door locked and not to open the door to talk to anyone when they are home alone. Set rules with your children about having visitors over when you’re not home and how to answer the telephone.
-Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends, and neighbors. Once you have chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask children how the experience with the caregiver was and listen carefully to their responses.

On the Net
-Learn about the Internet. The more you know about how the Web works, the better prepared you are to teach your children about potential risks. Visit for more information about Internet safety.
-Place the family computer in a common area, rather than a child’s bedroom. Also, monitor their time spent online and the websites they’ve visited and establish rules for Internet use.
-Know what other access your child may have to the Internet at school, libraries, or friends’ homes.
-Use privacy settings on social networking sites to limit contact with unknown users and make sure screen names don’t reveal too much about your children.
-Encourage your children to tell you if anything they encounter online makes them feel sad, scared, or confused.
-Caution children not to post revealing information or inappropriate photos of themselves or their friends online.

At School
-Walk the route to and from school with your children, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they’re being followed or need help. If your children ride a bus, visit the bus stop with them to make sure they know which bus to take.
-Remind kids to take a friend whenever they walk or bike to school. Remind them to stay with a group if they’re waiting at the bus stop.
-Caution children never to accept a ride from anyone unless you have told them it is OK to do so in each instance.

Out and About
-Take your children on a walking tour of the neighborhood and tell them whose homes they may visit without you.
-Remind your children it’s OK to say NO to anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused and teach your children to tell you if anything or anyone makes them feel this way.
-Teach your children to ask permission before leaving home.
-Remind your children not to walk or play alone outside.
-Teach your children to never approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they know the owner and are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.
-Practice "what if" situations and ask your children how they would respond. “What if you fell off your bike and you needed help? Who would you ask?”
-Teach your children to check in with you if there is a change of plans.
-During family outings, establish a central, easy-to-locate spot to meet for check-ins or should you get separated.
-Teach your children how to locate help at theme parks, sports stadiums, shopping malls, and other public places. Also, identify those people who they can ask for help, such as uniformed law enforcement, security guards and store clerks with nametags.
-Help your children learn to recognize and avoid potential risks, so that they can deal with them if they happen.
-Teach your children that if anyone tries to grab them, they should make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.

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