How to protect your children against abduction

It happens in the blink of an eye. 

News24 reported yet another incident of a high school learner narrowly escaping being kidnapped while on her way to school in Roodepoort last Wednesday.

And who could forget the chilling security footage from a Johannesburg family restaurant, in which a young boy is seen taken by a stranger. Its enough to disturb anyone - parent and non-parent alike. 

According to Missing Children South Africa, the alarming reality is that in South Africa one child goes missing every five hours. 

Here's how you can protect your family. 

What YOU should do:

  • Know your child's whereabouts at all times.
  • At a very early age, teach your child their name, address and telephone number and your first and last name.
  • Make sure children know how to make local and long distance telephone calls.
  • Teach your children to scream as loudly as possible, and that it is okay to do so when afraid.
  • Establish strict procedures for picking up children at school, after movies, at friends' homes, etc.
  • Establish a family code word that only you, your child and a trusted relative or friend knows. Teach your child to ask for the code word when approached by someone offering them a ride.
  • Remind your children to never accept a ride from someone you don't know, even if the child knows them.
  • Talk to your children about child abduction in a simple, non-threatening way.
  • Listen to your child when he or she discusses anyone they have met or spoken with when you weren't around.
  • Have photographs taken of your children at least four times a year (especially for preschoolers). Make note of birthmarks or other distinguishing features.
  • Have your child fingerprinted and store the prints in a safe, easily accessible place in your home.
 

Also read: Could this man kidnap your child?

Teach your children to:

  • Never leave home without your permission. Very small children should play only in areas away from the street, such as a backyard, or in a play area supervised by a responsible adult.
  • Never wander off, to avoid lonely places, and to avoid shortcuts through alleys or deserted areas. They are safer walking or playing with friends.
  • Come straight home from school unless you have made other arrangements.
  • Never enter anyone's home without your approval.
  • If accosted by a stranger in a mall, scream ‘This is not my Daddy!’ and get behind the nearest shop counter.
  • Scream, run away and tell you or a trusted adult if anyone attempts to touch or grab them, of if a stranger offers them a ride.
  • Never give any information over the telephone including their name and address, or indicate they are alone.
  • Keep doors locked and admit only authorized people into the house.

Adapted from http://sheriff.org/safety/abduction.cfm

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