No parents can look after a child all the time, but there are things parents can do to minimise the chances of something such as this happening. Your best ally is your child.
The South African police give the following advice to parents:
- Your children should always check with you before they go anywhere or get into a car – even with someone they know.
- You should know where your children are at all times.
- Children should not accept gifts or favours from anyone without checking with you first.
- Your children should not go alone to places, especially unknown ones. They should always take a friend with them.
- Your children should know your address, your home telephone number, your cellphone number and your work number.
- Children should be very wary of anyone who approaches them with job offers or requests for help.
- Children should feel that they can tell parents if something has happened to them that made them feel scared or confused or uncomfortable.
- Children, who are old enough to stay at home on their own, should never let on to strangers that there is no adult present.
- It is important to have a recent clear photograph of your child. This will help the police and the public search for your child if he/she goes missing.
Further advice from kidshealth.org states the following:
- Check who your kids are talking to online. Online stalking of children happens.
- Children should be taught to run away and scream if someone follows them or tries to force them into a car.
- Have a plan of action in place for when a child gets lost in a public place.
- Make it very clear to your child whose cars they can get into – anyone not on that list is out of bounds until they have spoken to you.
- Children should not wear clothing on which their names are boldly displayed – they will respond to their name even if it is a stranger calling them.