10 Tips for Keeping Your Kids Safe

As parents, we all want our children to be safe and grow up in a loving environment. The problem these days is that there are many dangers lurking out there that we all need to be aware of. Child abduction, abuse, and human trafficking are on the rise, which is very unnerving. No one wants to talk about these things with their children, for fear of taking away their innocence. But the reality is, that we need to be the ones educating them so they don't become a victim.
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Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash
Here are 10 tips to help you keep your kids safe:
  1. Teach your child to stay in groups. When children are in groups, they are less likely to be approached because other children can report what they saw. The more eyes watching, the more likely a suspicious person will be noticed and help can be found.
  2. Avoid gear with your child's name. While it is tempting to have their names emblazoned on everything, that embroidered backpack may give people a tool to get closer to your child. Children tend to let their guard down more easily when someone calls them by name. To help protect your child, keep personalized items out of your child's gear and wardrobe. When labeling school supplies, do it on the INSIDE or on an area that is not visible when the item is in use.
  3. Avoid calling out your child's full name in public or using it on social media.  
  4. Establish a code word so that if there is an emergency and another adult needs to pick them up, they will know that you sent them.
  5. Teach your child to pay attention to their surroundings. It is so easy for something to go wrong when a child is paying more attention to a device in their hand than the area around them. Adults and teens can zone out when on their cell phones. Take time to talk to your child about saving phone games, books, and other distracting activities for when they reach their destination.
  6. Give safety and tracking devices a try if you need to feel more secure. This can give your child freedom and protection at the same time. You can find great wearable devices with built in GPS, and even emergency calling services for children too young for a cell phone. There are keychain alarms and whistles that you can attach to your child's backpack to draw attention to your them if needed.
  7. Have the stranger danger talk with your child. Teach them not to talk to strangers or leave with them for any reason.  The promise of candy, toys, and puppies can be very tempting.
  8. The sad thing is that you also need to teach them that strangers are not the only ones they should be wary of. Many times, it could be a neighbor or someone they have seen before that takes advantage of their trust. Encourage them to be safe and not leave with anyone alone without alerting you.
  9. Teach your child to fight back and yell should someone try to lure them away. The attention and noise could cause an attacker to flee.
  10. Monitor their online usage and let them know not to give personal information out over the internet. When playing video games and chatting online, make sure you (and they) know exactly who they are interacting with. Make sure they know never to agree to meet someone in person that they have interacted with online.
Understand that children don't have the worries and fears that we have as adults. They do not know the possibilities of what is out there. Approach them with compassion and reason, instead of just putting fear into their heads. You don't want to make them anxious and fearful, just aware and prepared. Want more tips on staying safe? Check out this article about Summer Safety Tips for Parents 

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