The possibilities of a child getting kidnapped is one out of 347,000 or 0003 %, however, when it involves your child, it’s 100%. Dr. Phil has list top five ways on how parents can protect children.
1) Educate Your Children on how to Self-Protect
Educate your child to identify danger: who, what and where.
Who: Children are not only abducted by strangers anymore. These days’ children are kidnapped by family members or someone close to the family. This can also be someone that your child feels uncomfortable around or someone that asks them to do something that they are not comfortable with.
What: Teach your child to always be alert and to look for warning signs. If something feels wrong, it usually is. Furthermore, they should by no means get into the car of a stranger. If they feel that someone has invaded their personal space or has crossed the boundaries that they should report it to someone they trust. Your child should always trust his/her instincts and never give someone the benefit of the doubt.
Where: Teach your child about warning signs, for example, if they were supposed to go somewhere and someone wants to take them to another location this should be a clear warning sign.
2) Have a Plan
It is the responsibility of the parents to protect children. Thus, they should always ensure that they have a plan of action in case the worst thing happen. Parents should ensure that they take pictures of their children on a regular basis from all angles.
Also, make sure that you can easily identify that it is your child in these pictures.
Visit your local police station and get your child fingerprinted. This will ensure that your child gets entered into a database.
Set up a list with all emergency contacts. Important numbers on your list should be 911 as well as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: (800) The Lost, (800) 843-5678. The first couple of hours after an abduction are the most important.
3) Listen and Look
Parents should always pay close attention to their child’s behavior. Engage in their conversations to determine if you hear about anything or anyone that may place your child’s life in danger.
Whenever you pick your children up from school, look around to see if there is anyone hanging out or located where they are not supposed to be.
Most of the time when a child is abducted it is usually something that has been planned for months. In many cases the abductees are teenagers or little girls.
Always keep a close eye on what your children do online. Make sure you monitor the computer. Always have the passwords to the computer and their cell phones and, always check the places they visited online.
Predators make the effort to groom children online and then try and arrange a meeting in real life.
4) Arrange Their World for Safety
To protect children, parents should implement some strict rules such as the following:
By no means leave your child on their own, especially if they are still young.
Make sure that your child knows the rules for going to and from school and that they abide by them.
Doors should always be kept locked when children are at home alone and should not be opened to strangers.
Your children should know their home telephone number; the number of their parents, neighbors and emergency contact numbers should be written down and placed where they can easily be found.
It is also advisable that children learn their home address and never let your children where clothing that display their names.
Create a code word for your kids in the event of an emergency and try it. If you ask a loved one to pick up your child from school or from any other activity, your child can ask that person to repeat the code word, if they can he/she will know that they can trust that person.
Make a map of your area so children know which place to go if they’re feeling unsafe. Indicate a neighbor’s house they can trust, police station, fire station, etc.
Make sure that the map indicates where your child should head to incase the situation requires that action.
“They have to know where everything is should they have to make choices unexpectedly,” Dr. Phil states.
5) Prepare Your Children without Fear
You don’t wish to make your kids paranoid; however, you need to prepare them. Discuss safety openly and with no fear. Discuss the do’s and don’ts with them.
Always let your parents know where you are.
It’s safe to stay with a trusted friend.
Never go with a stranger
Never go to a second location with anyone that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Never keep secrets.
If your child knows the rules, and abide by them it will be easy to protect them. They will know how to be careful and will know when someone wants to hurt them.
Important things to remember:
The Buddy System: Children should always be in a group. They should never be alone, since there is strength in numbers.
React: Children should not be afraid to say NO if they feel uncomfortable about a certain situation. If they feel that they are not safe, they should immediately walk in the opposite direction, scream, yell or ask for help.
Put this into practice with your children by questioning them the way they would behave in a specific situation. Don’t explain how to behave. For instance, inquire how they would respond if they were at the bus stop and a car stops and offered them a ride.
Communicate: Communication is important between parent and child. You should ensure that you have a trusting relationship with your children so that they can communicate openly with you about anything they don’t feel comfortable with.
Above all, make sure that your children know that they are loved and that they need to respect and love themselves.