"Teaching Your Children to Pay Attention to Their Surroundings"
Da-Nay Macklin B.S., C.C.L.C
Our countries most valuable resource is our children - the leaders of tomorrow. As parents and members of society, it is our responsibility to safeguard our children. The best depiction of this is the African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child." This article is intended to assist parents in arming their children with the tools necessary to decipher and protect
themselves from unsafe surroundings. We send our children off into the world with "trusted" individuals on a daily basis. Those trusted people may include the school bus driver, babysitter, neighbor, teacher, and our communities. It is our hope and expectation for their safe return home. Unfortunately many children go missing for a multitude of reasons. One reason being their lack of attention to their surroundings.
An alarming number of 797,500 children (younger than 18) were reported missing during a one-year period of time. Resulting in an average of 2,185 children being reported missing each day, according to The U.S. Department of Justice. Children of every age, gender, and race are vulnerable to child abduction. Abduction is less likely to occur by following these safety tips:
Home Safety: Children must know their full, legal name, parents full, legal name, home phone number and how to use the telephone. Children must have a trusted adult to call if they're scared or have an emergency. Post your contact information where your children will see it (i.e., office phone number, cell phone, pager, etc). Also, be very selective in choosing a babysitter. Obtain references from family, friends, and neighbors. Once you have chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask your children how the experience with the caregiver was, and listen carefully to their responses.
Neighborhood Safety: Create a list with your children of their neighborhood boundaries, choosing significant landmarks. Plus interact regularly with your neighbors. Tell your children whose homes they are allowed to visit. Do not drop your children off alone at malls, movie theatres, video arcades, or parks. From here, teach your children that adults should not approach children for help or directions. Bottom line, children should never go anywhere with anyone without getting your permission first.
School Safety: Be careful when you put your child's name on clothing, backpacks, lunch boxes or bicycle license plates. If a child's name is visible, it may put them on a "first name" basis with an abductor. Also walk the route to and from school with your children, pointing acceptable routes to school, using main roads and avoiding shortcuts or isolated areas. If your children take a bus, visit the bus stop with them and make sure they know which bus to take . And finally, every home and school should teach children about safety and protection measures. As a parent, we should teach our children that they can be assertive in order to protect themselves against abduction. Make your home a place of trust and support that fulfills your child's needs.
Together, we the "village" can protect our countries children by teaching them to be smart, strong, and safe.
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