Summer is over, and we’ve traded our sunscreen and flipflops for school uniforms and headscarves. However, the seasonal change does not mean that we should not be just as vigilent over the safety of our children.
The National Center of Missing and Exploited Children have provided a great list of things parents, guardians, teachers need to know to keep our kids stay safe. Some of the common lures used include offering a child a ride, candy or sweets, asking the child questions, offering money or using an animal as a ruse. In 72 percent of the incidents, the suspect was in a vehicle and approximately one-third of the attempted abductions occurred during 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., when children are least likely to be supervised. NCMEC has developed the following 10 back-to-school safety tips to help keep your kids safe:
1. Teach your older children to always TAKE A FRIENDwith them when walking or biking, and stay with a group while standing at the bus stop. Make sure they know which bus to ride.
2. 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.
3. Teach your children they should NEVER TAKE SHORTCUTSand always stay in well-lit areas. Even though there may be more safety in numbers, it is still not safe for younger children to walk to and from school, especially if they must take isolated routes anytime during the day or in darkness. Always provide supervision for your young children to help ensure their safe arrival to and from school.
4. Teach your children that if anyone bothers them, makes them feel scared or uncomfortable, they should trust their feelings and immediately get away from that person. Teach them it is ok not to be polite and IT IS OK TO SAY NO.
5. Teach your children that if anyone tries to take them somewhere, they should RESIST by kicking and screaming, trying to run away and DRAWING ATTENTION– and saying “This person is trying to take me away” or “This person is not my father/mother.”
6. Teach your children NOT TO ACCEPT A RIDEfrom anyone unless you have said it is ok in that instance. If anyone follows them in a vehicle, they should turn around, go in the other direction, and run to a trusted adult who may help them.
7. Teach your children that grownups should NOT ASK CHILDREN FOR DIRECTIONS, they should ask other adults.
8. Teach your children to NEVER ACCEPT MONEY OR GIFTSfrom anyone unless you have told them it is ok to accept in each instance.
9. Make sure the school has current and accurate emergency contact information on file for your children and confirm names of those authorized to pick them up.
10. Always know where your children will be. Teach your children to always CHECK FIRST before changing their plans before or after school. Teach your children to never leave school with anyone unless they CHECK FIRST with you or another trusted adult, even if someone tells them it is an emergency.
Check our website at www.blackandmissinginc.com for more safety tips.
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