Personal Safety Never Takes a Pause!
Montreal, June 30, 2020. Summer is here! This is a wonderful time of great outdoor fun in the sun for our children. This year, due to the pandemic, many parents have opted to keep their children home and not enroll them in day camps or other summer activities. While many adults will continue to work remotely, children will most likely enjoy playing outside from early morning and late into the evening.
In order to ensure that children stay safe during the summer months, the Missing Children’s Network recommends that parents take this time to have open discussions with their youngsters and review the following safety strategies:
- Always Check First
You must always know where your child is, as well as keep him informed of your whereabouts. Establish an information/communication centre in the house where every member of the family can leave messages.
- Personal information
Ensure your child knows his complete name, address and telephone number. Should your child get lost or need to reach you in an emergency, he will need this information in order to obtain help.
- Buddy System
A child that is accompanied by a friend is less likely to be accosted by an individual with questionable intentions. There is safety in numbers!
- Say No!
Teach your child that he has the right to say NO! to anyone and in any situation that leaves him feeling confused, scared or threatened and to always tell a safe adult.
- Keeping a Safe Distance.
Make sure your child understands that he does not have to engage in conversations with adults that approach him and to always keep a safe distance of at least three giant steps between himself and someone he doesn’t know or who makes him feel uncomfortable.
If someone physically grabs your child or tries to force him into a vehicle, instruct your child to scream, “This is not my father/mother! I need help!”
- Where to go for help if needed.
Teach your child to always stay on the designated route when walking to and from a friend’s house and identify safe places along the route where he can seek refuge if he needs help (Stores, offices, fast food outlets, telephones where he can call 911).
- Use a Secret Family Password to be Used in an Emergency Situation.
Choose a password that is known only to you and your child to be used in any unexpected situations that may arise. Your child must always ask for this password before leaving with someone who claims to have been sent in your place.
- Current identification of your child.
Make sure you always carry proper identification of your child by downloading the Sign4l Application – you can create and store an electronic profile of your child that includes a recent photo and physical description.
- Labelling Your Child’s Personal Belongings.
Avoid identifying items with your child’s name clearly visible on them (lunch box, t-shirt, back pack, etc.) A child will respond more readily to a stranger if he is addressed by name.
- Play “What if” Scenarios With Your Children.
This technique is a valuable, educational tool because it fosters your child’s ability to develop problem-solving skills that will enable him to adopt sound safety habits for life. Your child’s autonomy and self-confidence will be enhanced and he will be able to make safe decisions when there is no adult present to guide him. Concepts practiced and rehearsed over a period of time increase personal safety in real-life situations.
For more information about our personal safety workshops that teach students how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations, please contact our offices at 514 843.4333 or visit our website at www.missingchildrensnetwork.ngo