It’s finally Summer time! The vacations are planned, the money is saved and everyone is just as excited as can be. But there is a very real threat whether at home or on vacation. That threat is called Kidnapping. An article at associatedcontent.com states that tens of thousands of children go missing each year. As a parent, we want to believe that nothing bad could ever happen to our own children, but the truth is, each child is at the same risk as the next. Children can be kidnapped from their own backyards, as well as more public places.
There are some common rules you can follow to help your children stay safe while at home or on a vacation. They seem “old-school” but are very effective in keeping your children safe this summer.
Never talk to strangers. This one seems obvious and over used, but it’s the best defense in protecting our little ones. Children are friendly by nature. They should be reminded no to give out personal information about themselves. Remind them, that while a male is more likely to be a kidnapper, females have the potential to be a kidnapper as well.
• Never allow a child to wander by him/herself. Reinforce the “buddy system”. A child walking by him or herself is easier for a potential kidnapper to grab than a group of two or three kids would be.
• Make sure your children know their (and parents and guardians) full names, addresses, and telephone numbers and how to use the phone.
• Check out camp and other summer programs before enrolling your children. See if a background check is completed on the individuals working with the children. Never assume a background check is already done!
• Investigate daycare settings thoroughly before placing your children. Make certain it is licensed; completed full background screening for all employees, volunteers, and others affiliated with the facility; and allows parents and guardians to come and go as they wish.
• One of the most important things in today’s society is to teach children to stay alert to their surroundings. A child who is staring at a cell phone, video game, or walking down a street with headphones in their ears is an easy target for a kidnapper.
• Know your neighbors and make sure your children know where to go or where not to go. Convicted sex offenders are required to register. You can look up whether you have a sex offender in your neighborhood at the Nevada Sex Offender Registry Search http://www.nvsexoffenders.gov. Keep in mind, some offenders who may not be in compliance. Which means their listed address and workplace could be unknown and they could be anywhere.
• When traveling out of town, it is a good idea to keep things to help identify your children through DNA. Having extra fingerprint cards in your purse or car, as well as a band aid with a drop of your child’s blood with help authorities identify and track your child. AVA provides fingerprint cards free of charge for anyone who needs them.
Sometimes, following these rules doesn’t work. Teach your child about listening to their instincts and what to do in dangerous or uncomfortable situations. Teaching, practicing and reinforcing basic self defense can be a life saver to a child who is caught by a kidnapper. Teaching a child to be as loud as possible, causing a scene, kicking in kidnapper in a sensitive area, or how to get out of a kidnapper’s grasp have the potential to deter the kidnapper and save the child’s life. Humboldt AVA will be providing classes on basic self defense and bully proofing, in co ordinance with Montenegro School of TaeKwon-Do throughout the summer.
Remember: Winnemucca may be a small town, but we DO have sex offenders and predators living and working here!