TEN WAYS PARENTS CAN HELP KEEP CHILDREN SAFE THIS SUMMER
What are your child’s plans for the summer? Will he or she be spending time home alone or going to local parks and swimming pools with friends? Actor Tim Kang from the CBS show The Mentalist has partnered with The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to let parents know the ten things they can do to help keep their children safe this summer.
"Parents need to understand that it only takes a few minutes to teach their children about safety. And those few minutes of conversation could mean the difference between life and death,” according to actor Tim Kang.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has great resources to help parents talk to their children including the following ten things they can do to help keep children safe this summer:
- MAKE SURE children know their full names, address, telephone numbers and how to use the telephone.
- BE SURE children know what to do in case of an emergency and how to reach you using cell phone or pager number. Children should have a neighbor or trusted adult they may call if they’re scared or there’s an emergency.
- REVIEW the rules with your children about whose homes they may visit and discuss the boundaries of where they may and may not go in the neighborhood.
- MAKE SURE children know to stay away from pools, creeks, or any body of water without adult supervision.
- CAUTION children to keep the door locked and not to open the door or talk to anyone who comes to the door when they are home alone.
- DON’T drop your children off at malls, movies, video arcades or parks as these are not safe places for children to be alone. Make sure a responsible adult is supervising younger children any time they are outside or away from home.
- TEACH your children in whose vehicle they may ride. Children should be cautioned to never approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless accompanied by a parent or other trusted adult.
- BE SURE your children know their curfew and check in with you if they are going to be late. If children are playing outside after dark, make sure they wear reflective clothing and stay close to home.
- CHOOSE babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends, and neighbors. Many states now have registries for public access to check criminal history or sex-offender status. Observe the babysitter’s interaction with your children, and ask your children how they feel about the babysitter.
- CHECK out camp and other summer programs before enrolling your children. See if a background screening check is completed on the individuals working with the children. Make sure there will be adult supervision of your children at all times, and make sure you are made aware of all activities and field trips offered by the camp or program.
“Child safety is important all year, but summer is an especially important time for parents and children to include safety in their activities,” according to Ernie Allen, President & CEO of NCMEC. “Always listen to your children and keep the lines of communication open. Your children are your best source for determining if everything is okay. Teach your children to get out of dangerous or uncomfortable situations right away and practice basic safety skills with them. Make sure they know they are able to tell you about anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused.”
NCMEC also recommends that parents be sure all custody documents are in order and certified copies are available in case your children are not returned from a scheduled summer visit. For additional safety tips and information visit www.missingkids.com or www.netsmartz.org.
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children’s hotline which has handled more than 3,372,730 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 163,330 children. The organization’s CyberTipline has handled more than 1,091,950 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 49,272,100 pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at www.missingkids.com.