With gratitude to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
It’s back-to-school time again, and parents, family members and caregivers who have young children in their charge are thinking about how they can keep their young kids safe. Here are some tips the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) have shared in a publication called “Personal Safety For Children – A Guide for Parents and Guardians”.1 We hope it’s useful to you as your young ones head to school:
What Your Child Can Do: The Rules for Younger Children:
Young children should be taught:
- To know their name, address, telephone number and their parents’ or guardians’ names.
- To check first with parents, guardians or the person in charge, and to tell them before going anywhere or getting into a vehicle, even with someone the child knows.
- To check first with their parents, guardians, or another trusted adult before accepting anything from anyone, even from someone the child knows.
- To take a friend along when the child goes places or plays outside.
- To say “No!” if someone tries to touch or treat the child in a way that makes him or her feel scared, uncomfortable or confused.
- To know that it’s okay to say “No!” and to keep asking until a child gets the help he or she needs.
- To know that he or she can tell his or her parents, guardians, or another trusted adult if he or she feels scared, uncomfortable or confused.
- A child should believe they are strong, smart and have the right to be SAFE.
There are too many tragedies in our world today and the effects of a society in flux spill over onto vulnerable young children. We have only to look at the evening news one night a week to know this. As a parent, family member, caregiver or guardian, please bear in mind the incredible gift of responsibility that has been placed on your shoulders, to protect, guide and keep your children safe. It’s not enough to give birth, feed, clothe, house, educate and love them. If you love them, you want them to be safe and to grow up in as safe and healthy a world as possible. Be with them, listen to them, watch over them. They are the most precious gift of all.
1“Personal Safety for Children, A Guide for Parents and Guardians”, c. 1998, 2002, 2005, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Alexandria, VA.