1. Approach the subject of safety in a non-threatening way. It is important that you don`t make your child fearful of dangerous situations or people, but cautions and able to recognize when something is not right.
2. Encourage your child to trust his or her intuition, and to be able to talk to you when something is bothering them. They should know not to keep secrets from you. Open communication is very important. Really LISTEN to your child.
3. Let your child know that their body belongs to them. No one has the right to touch them inappropriately. If someone is making them feel uncomfortable, they should let you know immediately.
4. Inform your child of rules pertaining to strangers. A strangers looks just like any other person and will use several ways to lure a child. The most common ones are: pretending to look for a lost dog, having candy or money if the child goes to their car with them, telling the child that they’ll hurt family members if they do not comply, and asking for directions.
5. Let your child know that adults DO NOT ask children for help nor do they threaten them. If they do encounter these situations they should immediately scream, “NO!” and run quickly in the opposite direction and try to find a trusted adult. They should never approach an unknown car or get into a car with an adult that they do not know. If someone tries to grab them, they should scream, “THIS IS NOT MY PATENT!” to attract attention.
6. Share an easily-remembered secret CODE WORD. Tell your child that if anyone approaches them and says that they are a family friend, they must ask for the code word. If the person really is a friend, they will know it. If they don’t, then your child should run away as quickly as possible.
7. Never label clothing, a backpack, or other personal items with your child` name. An abductor could use this information to try to gain trust.
8. Give your child instructions on what to do if they get separated from you in the mall, supermarket or other public place. Tell them to go to a checkout counter or information desk, or to approach a security officer or mother with children, and let them know they are lost and looking for their parent(s).
9. Make sure that your child knows his or her full name, address, and phone number and how to dial 911.
10. Know where your child is at all times, and keep a list of friends, addresses, and phone numbers.
11. Remember to update your child`s records every 6-12 months because of his or her growth.
IF YOUR CHILD IS MISSING
Try not to panic. First check everywhere in the house, then check with your neighbors and child`s friend. If you cannot locate them, call the Police immediately.
THERE IS NO WAITING PERIOD REQUIRED TO REPORT A MISSING CHILD TO THE POLICE.