Alert kids to stranger danger

While you do not want to be a panic mechanic be mindful that child trafficking and kidnapping are sad realities of life in this country and it will help if you can keep your child safer with a few basic guidelines.

According to Missing Children South Africa, a child goes missing every five hours in our country.

“The last thing you want to do is instill a sense of fear in your child but a healthy awareness of the dangers of the world could end up saving their lives. When it comes to kidnapping, the more knowledge both the parent and child have, the better their chances of identifying kidnappers and preventing the unthinkable from happening,” said 1st for Women Insurance spokeswoman Casey Rousseau.

1st for Women offers these tips on what parents should ensure their kids should know, and be able to look out for when it comes to perceived threats like kidnapping:

  • How to contact you at all times – they should know their own address, home phone number and your cellphone number.
  • Gifts from strangers are not usually gifts at all. If someone offers them something, they should check with you first before taking it or preferably not take it at all.
  • Keep their friends close – they should always take a friend with them if they are going out, especially to a place they haven’t been before.
  • Kids don’t get job offers – if someone offers them a job or asks for their assistance with something, they should turn them down and tell you about the incident immediately.
  • They can trust you – if something happens that makes them feel uncomfortable, confused or frightened, they can share it with you.
  • You’re not spying on them – checking up on who they are speaking to online is not an invasion of their privacy but a way for you to help keep them safe.
  • Speed and noise are key – if someone follows them or tries to force them into a car, they should run and scream.
  • Plan of action – what they should do and where they should meet you if they are lost in a public area.

“Human trafficking is rising at an alarming rate but it is just one of the reasons that children are kidnapped. Children are also often taken by members of their own family.

“Either way, the risk of kidnapping should not be taken lightly by any parent, anywhere,” Rousseau said.

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