Saturday, May 17, 2008

Safety Saturdays (#13) - Take 25

Safety Saturdays today and next Saturdary is devoted to Take 25, a program by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to encourage parents, guardians, and other role models to spend time talking to kids to teach them ways to be safer. Take 25 was started to commemorate National Missing Children’s Day on May 25th. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 2,000 children are reported missing every day, and thankfully, the vast majority of them are recovered quickly.

Parents and guardians can reduce risks children face by teaching them safety concepts, reassuring them, and building their confidence. Click on the Take 25 button to learn more about abduction, sexual exploitation, and internet dangers; discussion guidelines; conversation starters; and activity ideas. The safety tips listed below were taken from the website.

25 ways to make kids safer

At Home

  1. Teach your children their full names, address, and home telephone number. Make sure they know your full name.
  2. Make sure your children know how to reach you at work or on your cell phone.
  3. Teach your children how and when to use 911 and make sure your children have a trusted adult to call if they’re scared or have an emergency.
  4. Instruct children to keep the door locked and not to open the door to talk to anyone when they are home alone. Set rules with your children about having visitors over when you’re not home and how to answer the telephone.
  5. Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends, and neighbors. Once you have chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask children how the experience with the caregiver was and listen carefully to their responses.

On the Net

  1. Learn about the Internet. The more you know about how the Web works, the better prepared you are to teach your children about potential risks. Visit http://www.netsmartz.org/ for more information about Internet safety.
  2. Place the family computer in a common area, rather than a child’s bedroom. Also, monitor their time spent online and the websites they’ve visited and establish rules for Internet use.
  3. Know what other access your child may have to the Internet at school, libraries, or friends’ homes.
  4. Use privacy settings on social networking sites to limit contact with unknown users and make sure screen names don’t reveal too much about your children.
  5. Encourage your children to tell you if anything they encounter online makes them feel sad, scared, or confused.
  6. Caution children not to post revealing information or inappropriate photos of themselves or their friends online.

At School

  1. 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. If your children ride a bus, visit the bus stop with them to make sure they know which bus to take.
  2. Remind kids to take a friend whenever they walk or bike to school. Remind them to stay with a group if they’re waiting at the bus stop.
  3. Caution children never to accept a ride from anyone unless you have told them it is OK to do so in each instance.

Out and About

  1. Take your children on a walking tour of the neighborhood and tell them whose homes they may visit without you.
  2. Remind your children it’s OK to say NO to anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused and teach your children to tell you if anything or anyone makes them feel this way.
  3. Teach your children to ask permission before leaving home.
  4. Remind your children not to walk or play alone outside.
  5. Teach your children to never approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they know the owner and are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.
  6. Practice "what if" situations and ask your children how they would respond. “What if you fell off your bike and you needed help? Who would you ask?”
  7. Teach your children to check in with you if there is a change of plans.
  8. During family outings, establish a central, easy-to-locate spot to meet for check-ins or should you get separated.
  9. Teach your children how to locate help at theme parks, sports stadiums, shopping malls, and other public places. Also, identify those people who they can ask for help, such as uniformed law enforcement, security guards and store clerks with nametags.
  10. Help your children learn to recognize and avoid potential risks, so that they can deal with them if they happen.
  11. Teach your children that if anyone tries to grab them, they should make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.

Resources for additional information:

  • Take 25 Safety Tips Poster -Download the above lists of 25 ways to make kids safer at home, on the net, going to and from school, and out and about.
  • NetSmartz411 is parents' and guardians' premier, online resource for answering questions about Internet safety, computers, and the Web. You can search their library for information or ask the experts a question.
  • NetSmartz Workshop provides on- and offline learning activities for parents to facilitate discussions with their children and teens about Internet safety, including a blog about internet safety.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is a particular topic that you would like to see covered in a future post. (If you are not familiar with blogging, you can still leave a comment below. Just click the anonymous button and type your comment in the text box provided.) Check out all the Safety Saturdays posts for more safety tips.

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2 comments:

Kelsey Smith said...

Awesome tips thanks for sharing!

Amy Wyatt said...

Such good information. Thanks for sharing it.