According to Missing Children South Africa, one child goes missing every five hours in SA.
In 2019, a Roodepoort high school learner narrowly escaped a kidnap attempt while on her way to school, and a little a later in the same year, 6-year-old Amy-Lee de Jager was kidnapped but safely returned to her family.
Not all are as lucky.
The kidnapping and senseless killing of Tazne van Wyk has both saddened and angered many South Africans.
And what's worse, these incidences are but three of countless others which sadly never make news headlines.
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 family
Also read: Kidnapping prevention - 8 tips that could keep your child safe
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
Share your tips to keep kids safe, and we could publish your comment. Anonymous contributions are always welcome.