Prevent tragedy from striking your family by being proactive about your children's safety. FBI Agent Van Zandt reveals 10 things parents should know about keeping their kids secure.
10 safety tips children should know
- The key is communication. It is important to talk openly with your children about all safety issues, including what to do in a potential abduction situation.
- Knowledge is power. Talk to your children about the rules pertaining to strangers. Let them know that a stranger or predator looks just like any other person and will use several ways to lure a child.
- Learn the common predator lures: pretending to look for a lost pet, asking the child for directions, giving or promising candy and/or money if the child will go to their car, and threatening to hurt family members if the child does not comply.
- Never label clothing, backpacks or other personal items with your child's name. A predator will use this information to try to gain your child's trust.
- Give your children instructions on what to do if they get separated from you in a mall, supermarket or any other public place. Tell them to first find a mother with children, or any woman, and let them know they are lost. Also, they can go to a checkout counter, information desk or to a police officer.
- Make sure your child knows his or her full name, address and phone number, and the phone number where you work or how to contact you. They also need to know how to dial 911, make collect calls and dial the operator on a pay phone.
- Know where your children are at all times, and keep a list of their friends' addresses and phone numbers.
- Remember to update your children's records, including a photo every 6–12 months.
- Practice, practice, practice. Going over this information once with your children is not enough! You must continue to rehearse and "role play" to make the learning permanent so your child can react properly under pressure.
- If your child is missing, try not to panic. First check everywhere in the house, then check with your neighbors and your child's friends. If you still cannot locate them, call the police immediately. Remember: There is no waiting period required to report a missing child to the police.