Are your children kidnap-proof? It takes more than 'stranger danger' talks to keep our kids safe these days. Each week we hear news reports about strange vehicles spotted around schools. Most of the time the children manage to run off. When strangers do attempt to take our children, many fight off their would-be abductors.
Australian parents are still disturbed by the abduction and murder of Daniel Morcombe in Queensland. Most high-profile kidnapping cases are overseas...Madeleline McCann, James Bulger, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in the UK. We all know how these cases ended up. But Daniel was just so close to home.
There isn't a single parent who doesn't wonder how they can prevent a similar fate for their child. Thankfully there are some simple steps we can take to kidnap-proof our children as much as humanly possible:
You can never be too careful when supervising your children. At the park, at the shops, to and from school, at family functions...you must know where your kids are at all times, particularly when they are aged ten or under. Make sure they are used to holding your hand, of walking beside you. Too often we see parents walking ahead of their children, in a rush to get to their next destination. Be late. It doesn't matter as long as your kids are safe.
2. Teach them your number
From the age of 4 your children can learn your mobile number. Make it fun, a game. Teach them the first four digits, then the next three, then the next three. If they become lost or can't see you tell them to find another mummy and tell them your mobile number.
For older children, teach them your phone number and address.
3. Remove yourself from uncomfortable situations
The Daniel Morcombe Foundation focuses on teaching children how to react in uncomfortable situations. All to often the danger exists closer to home than we realise. If children feel uncomfortable in any circumstance, they are to remove themselves from the situation. They don't have to kiss anyone hello, sit on the laps of relatives and friends. They are in charge of themselves and they get to decide what they are comfortable with.
4. Never talk to strangers
And go much further than this. Strangers might say mum or dad has been injured and has send them to pick them up. They might tell other lies. Don't believe them. Unless mum or dad has told them of an arrangement ahead of time, never believe a change in plans unless told by a trusted person.
5. Trusted people
Explain to your children who trusted people are. Grandma, Aunty Marina, their teacher at school while on school grounds and mum and dad. Make the list small. Never deviate from it.
6. Self-defense classes