The summer is coming to an end, and it is finally back-to-school time. This is a moment filled with excitement and new beginnings. But it’s also an occasion to remember the safety of our children. Routines are changing so it’s a good time to introduce new safety habits.
It is smart to have a safety plan in place for a child’s daily walk to and from school, or if they are home alone after school. Unfortunately, human trafficking continues to be a huge problem in Oklahoma. Many of the abduction attempts occur between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and with children aged 10 – 14. Your children should know what to do if someone approaches them and the necessary steps to take.
Always make sure they have a group to walk with, and that they never walk alone. Know the routes your child takes to and from school. Once they get home, if they are alone, have rules set in place to keep them safe there as well. They need to know what to do in case of an emergency and whom they can turn to for help.
Go over various methods potential abductors might use. Teach them to say “No” and to tell a trusted adult right away. Prepare your children by having them memorize their full name, address, telephone numbers, and most importantly 9-1-1.
While you have this safety plan and need to be on the lookout for strangers, be aware that most predators are not outsiders but rather someone known and trusted. Be watchful for those who want to spend an unusual amount of time with your child or with one child in particular.
KidSmartz, a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children shares these 4 rules of safety every child should know:
- Check First
- Take a Friend
- Tell People “NO”
- Tell a Trusted Adult
Remember, as a parent you are your child’s best resource. Make sure to keep them informed on ways to stay safe, and keep you informed on what is happening in their lives. To learn more tips on how to keep your children protected visit the KidSmartz website.