According to Missing Children South Africa, one child goes missing every five hours in SA.
It's enough to disturb anyone - parent and non-parent alike, and while it does happen in the blink of an eye, there are a few things you can do to protect your familyAlso read: 'It saved me and my sister': The kidnapping avoidance tip that saves lives
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.
- Teach them how to call 10111 for help.
- 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.
- Never leave children alone in a car, not even for a few seconds.
- 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.
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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