With the rescue of three women in Cleveland who were abducted nearly a decade ago, comes fresh concerns for parents. Abduction is every parent’s worst nightmare, but day-to-day activities can be dangerous as well. Amanda Berry was 16 when she went missing in 2003 after leaving her job at a Burger King. Georgina “Gina” DeJesus was 14 when she disappeared in 2004 while walking home from school. Michelle Knight was 20 when she vanished in 2002. The freedom that 11-17-year-olds have can unfortunately put them at risk of being snatched, according to Nancy McBride, a national safety director for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The group offers these guidelines to parents to help keep kids of all ages safe:
- Talk to your kids about recognizing and avoiding potentially dangerous situations. Make sure they know to avoid people they don’t know or who may make them feel uncomfortable.
- Instruct them to always take a friend when going places or stay with a group while attending school outings.
- Teach them the appropriate steps to take if approached or followed. Make sure they know to draw attention to themselves if they are touched or grabbed.
- Instruct them to get away from any uncomfortable situations or people as quickly as possible. Teach them to do whatever they can to get away from the person – kicking, screaming, biting is OK.
- Teach them that just because someone tries to engage them in conversation doesn’t mean they should talk to that person or forget their safety rules. Tell them to trust their instincts if someone is making them feel uncomfortable.
- Discuss safety issues with your children so they will understand the need for precautions.
- Get to know your childcare providers, neighbors, coworkers and employees.
- Provide supervision and monitor kids’ activities and schedules.
- Make sure your child knows where he/she is allowed to go and visit and at what times of day.
- Communicate with them and listen to them.
Contact us 24/7 for a free case appraisal. If you think you have seen a missing child, please call The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678. Read the full article and get the safety tips here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/07/missing-children-safety/2142521/