Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Keep Your Child Safe

There is a child missing in the local area. She left a friend’s house around eight in the evening for a short walk home. The search has been going on for a few days. I hope that she will be found safe, but as each day passes, hope fades. My son is beyond the age of worrying whether he could be adducted, but my wife and I tried to make him as a safe as possible while he was growing up.

MissingChildren.com has some good steps for parents of younger children on keeping them safe:

· Know where your children are. Have your children tell you or ask permission before leaving the house and give them a time to check in or be home. When possible, have them leave a phone number of where they will be.

· Help children learn important phone numbers. Have your children practice reciting their home phone number and address, and your work and cell phone numbers. If they have trouble memorizing these, write them down on a card and have them carry it at all times. Tell your children where you will be and the best way to reach you.

· Set limits on where your children can go in your neighborhood. Do you want them crossing busy roads? Playing in alleys or abandoned buildings? Are there certain homes in your neighborhood that you don't want your children to go to?

· Get to know your children's friends. Meet their parents before letting your children to go to their home and keep a list of their phone numbers. If you can't meet their parents, call and talk to them. Ask what your children might do at their house and if they will be supervised.

· Choose a safe house in your neighborhood. Pick a neighbor's house where your children can go if they need help. Point out other places they can go for help, like stores, libraries, and police stations.

· Work together with your neighbors. Watch out for suspicious and unusual behavior in your neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors and their children so you can look out for one another.

The constant theme is to be involved in your child’s life, to know where they are at and take part in activities. Besides keeping them safer, it will pay dividends in the building your relationship with them.

If believe your child is missing, MissingChildren.com suggests these steps:

· If your child is missing from home, search the house checking closets, piles of laundry, in and under beds, inside old refrigerators—wherever a child may crawl or hide.

· If you still cannot find your child, immediately call your local law-enforcement agency.

· If your child disappears in a store, notify the store manager or security office. Then immediately call your local law-enforcement agency. Many stores have a Code Adam plan of action--if a child is missing in the store, employees immediately mobilize to look for the missing child.

· When you call law enforcement, provide your child's name, date of birth, height, weight, and any other unique identifiers such as eyeglasses and braces. Tell them when you noticed that your child was missing and what clothing he or she was wearing.

· Request that your child's name and identifying information be immediately entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Person File.

· After you have reported your child missing to law enforcement, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children toll free 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

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