The Final 7 Tips for a Safer Child
Last week we covered the first 7 tips to teach your child safety from abduction. We covered:
- Never tell anyone on the phone they are alone.
- Never answer the door if they are alone.
- Never enter someone else’s home without letting you know where they are.
- Never get into anyone’s car without permission from YOU!
- Do not accept candy or any gift from strangers.
- Never play in deserted buildings or isolated areas.
- If someone tries to grab them, scream and scatter books or whatever they have.
This week we will cover the final seven tips, for the complete set of 14. So, let’s get started!
1. Move Away from Any Car that Pulls Up Beside Them, if They Don’t Know the Driver
This one happened to me when I was in second grade, going to P.S. 172 in Brooklyn, New York. A car pulled up beside me as I walked to school, rolled down the window and asked if I wanted a ride to school because it was cold. I moved away and said, “No, thank you! My Mom told me to never talk or go with strangers.” He proceeded to offer me candy. I ignored him and ran away toward a group of friends.
The important thing here is to put enough distance between the child and the car, so the would-be abductee cannot reach out and grab him or her. Teach them to look for others they can join. Again, the last thing an abductor wants is for anyone to see them or their license plate.
2. Make Sure They Can Recite Your Telephone Number and Their Address
If for some reason your child is alone and needs to run to another adult for help, he or she needs to be able to tell them how to contact you and where you live. Many children don’t know their parent’s phone number and some have an idea of where they live, but since we no longer write letters (we text or email), they’ve never learned their street address.
3. Teach Them it’s Alright to Say ‘No’ to an Adult
We teach our children to respect their elders. A great virtue. However, some believe to disagree with an adult is impolite; hence they accept whatever the adult says or asks.
Your child must know that if any adult (no matter whether they are family or stranger) asks them to do something you’ve taught them is wrong, it’s okay to tell them no. It’s not rude; it’s the right thing to do.
4. No One has the Right to Touch Them Anywhere a Bathing Suit Would Cover
Depending on how young your child may be, he or she may remember diaper changes, being dressed and washed, and being touched by Mom or Dad for cleanliness. This can lead to thinking an adult touching me in those areas is okay.
Make sure they understand that the reason we wear bathing suits at the beach or pool is to cover areas that are private and no one should see or touch. Therefore, use a bathing suit as the boundary setter. Anywhere a bathing suit would cover is off limits, except by Mom if she is caring for the child or a doctor.
5. Inform Their Teacher, School Authority or Police Officer if Anyone Exposes Bathing-Suit Areas
Just like it’s not good for people to see the areas a bathing suit covers, teach them no one should SHOW them the areas a bathing suit covers. If someone does, run to the nearest authority, point the person out and tell them immediately.
6. Tell You if Someone Asked Them to Keep A Secret from You
Secrets are powerful things! I remember as a child loving to say (with all the snide joy a child can muster), “I know something you don’t!” Would be abductors or abusers are good at befriending a child and playing on the powerful temptation of secrets.
Teach your child that they should NEVER keep any secrets from you and anyone who would ask them to, is doing something wrong that is not good for them. Not to trust anyone who does and to tell you immediately.
7. Go to the Nearest Cashier if Lost in a Store or Mall
Finally, the dreaded moment when you turnaround at a big store or mall and don’t see your child. Only to finally hear a page saying, “Will (fill in your name) please come to the store office to pick up your child.” Then everyone looks at you like you’re a bad mom or dad, as you take the long walk to the store manager’s office.
Well, better the looks and your child being safe than to have your child taken, for lack of a plan. Teach them if they don’t see you, immediately run to a cashier and tell them they are lost and ask them to call you.
A child is the most precious creation entrusted to us by God. Their innocence brings joy, laughter, happiness and much love. Those formative years when they say the cutest things, look like an eternal Hallmark card that makes you want to constantly hug and kiss them are the best moments of our lives. Protect those moments by protecting your child. They will teach these to their children and you will have protected your grandchildren too!