Article of the month August
Keeping Our Children Safe
(I thought this 1, important enough to tag as a monthly discussion topic!)
I have been seeing far too many stories lately, on child abductions. It sickens and scares me, at the very same time, and so as usual, whatever pops into my mind, compels me to write, so here I am, writing an article, on ways to keep your children safe, in this often, sad to say, sickening world.
Having the stranger talk. This is very very important, as I happen to have a very outgoing 4 year old, who seems to gravitate at times, more towards the parents of the children, wherever we go, then the kids, quite often. She is quite mature, and enjoys going up to anyone and everyone, and this is including the dads, not just the women, however in this day and age, you can’t even trust the whole female race either. How sad, and must stay on top of things. Look at that pathetic example of a human being, Melissa Huckaby. I think she was the daughter of a preacher or something, member of the church, and murdered the 9 yr old, little friend of her very own daughter, amongst other things she did to her, that I will not comment on. This is why we got to watch out, this wasn’t even a stranger to the poor child. My deepest sympathies go out to Sandra Cantu and her family. I can’t begin to imagine losing a child that way.
It’s important that we make our children aware that there is danger around them, that they need to be aware of, but not make them afraid to step out into public, and be so scared that they trust nobody & fear everything. It’s a fine line, we got to try and not cross, when instilling these things into our children.
Like I said, my daughter is quite social with all, and many people have told me how good and bad that is, and strangers I mean, so we did have numerous talks in recent months on the subject, where I went over different scenarios, and tested her ‘stranger smarts’ if you will. She failed miserably for awhile, which wasn’t surprising. If you have a cute puppy, up until I finalized our talks, she would go with you anywhere. Offer me candy? …Yumm I’ll take it! So it was really important to talk with her, and pronto.
By 4 years old most children can completely grasp what a true stranger is, before that, at 3 say, they may know ok, this is mom, this is dad, who are you, but might not be ready to have the stranger talk, they might not be able to grasp it quite yet. My boys were Irish twins, I knew they had each other, and were much more conservative children, as far as strangers. They were more apprehensive of them, then my daughter, who is more like the social butterfly to all, so there was less worry, and even 10, 15 yrs ago, the world wasn’t as bad as it is today I believe, so we got to really enforce some street smarts into our little ones, at quite an early age. Until they are about 4, you just got to really shield them yourself, immensely.
The stranger talk. After your child understands what a stranger means, explain to them the importance of not ever going anywhere with a stranger, not even if they sware they know your mom, your dad, they told me to pick you up, etc etc…that is important, because children are easy to believe adults, since they are so trusting in you. They may even say I know your parent’s names, and what they look like. This makes no difference, as these sick people, can find out info. about you, and use it to gain trust within your child, so you gotto warn your kids about that.
Stress how important it is to not accept anything from a stranger. You can start this with Halloween candy, and how mom must check everything before you eat it, because you just don’t know. Not everybody out in this world is as nice as you are, and people can do really bad things. After you explain that people can be bad at this time of year, then people can be bad at any time of year. They can give you something that can make you sick, you can say, and you should never accept anything unless mom is right there and says yes, or hands it to you herself. Children are easily lured, by something they like, like candy, animals, and interesting toys.
Back in my day, by 4 or 5 years old, I was riding my little bicycle to the corner, and every birthday, I would get to go further and further. one block, then 2 blocks, etc. With kids today, it’s not as innocent to do such things as it once was. Granted we had abductors back then to, but you didn’t read stories about it happening, nearly every day! This world has gotten really sick, so think twice before letting your child, go outside alone, even in the seemingly ‘safest’ of neighborhoods.
I live in a very clean, nice, friendly, neighborhood, and i makes no matter to me, these things happen EVERYWHERE. No one, and no place is immune. My 4 yr old, can’t be out in the front yard at all to play, eventhough other kids on our block can. Oh well. Unless I am with you, no way, no how. And when out back, I will be sitting in a lounge chair, watching her play, even in our own yard, because you just cannot trust the world, and these things can happen fast. If she is with her brother, it’s a different story, but alone, she is shieled to the utmost. I sware sometimes, I think installing GPS chips into all of our children, would be a great thing to do, it’s just so scary out there.
I know you can only smother so long though, sadly, until a child demands so independence, and that is what scares me most especially now having 3 girls to worry over. It’s scary for all of our kids, but girls… just a little bit scarier. I’m glad they will be in a ‘pack’ at least, one day, but for now my 4 yr old, 5 in 2 weeks, is already starting to question me, like trust me, I want to go next door and play ALONE, it’s like no no no. I hate seeming like a bad person to her, but quite frankly, they have several people, an uncle and cousin living in the home, adult males, and I don’t yet know the parents well even, so how can i let my daughter just go over there?
That is quite sad, because you want your children to have friends nearby, but you gotto KNOW who you are leaving your child with. They happen to let their little ones ride their bikes seemingly all over, and play out in front of the house, which is something I personally don’t allow, and wouldn’t let her partake in. Not only can a child be more easily snatched outside by the street and sidewalks, but if a ball goes into the road…opps. Well, you know what I mean, there are many dangers. She can play with them out in the backyard only, and I’m outside watching over the gate.
Don’t worry about being the enemy by being over-protective, because you will be the enemy many times in their lives, and they will not understand it, until they are older, and have kids of their own, then they will totally understand your situation, and the hell that you went through, in order to protect them, from harm. Hey at 15, I was thinking, why do my parents have a problem with me dating a 19 yr. old?? I’m a mature girl, I’m almost an adult. Now I laugh, I’d have my daughter’s hide, so to speak, and was I an adult? At 15? Far from it, but every teenager feels like, and thinks they are so mature and adult-like. They won’t get it, no matter how many times you say it, until they get their own hindsight, which is always 20/20, later on in life, so do remember that.
When your child is no longer ‘the baby’, and you are forced to loosen the reigns a little bit, ‘cut the cord’ so to speak, then you’ll need a good tranquilizer ( he he, just making sure you are paying attention, but the first few times out alone, you may need one ), and make sure your child knows ALL of his or her personal information, such as their home address, phone number, 1st and last name of course, and has passed the tests you have given him on strangers, and what to do in certain situations, that can arise.
If you have gone through different scenarios with your child, as I do in my home, ones that are often used to lure children, then they will know what things are obvious scams, when they are in danger, what sounds familiar that mommy and daddy taught them, and will high tail it on outta there. These things are super important.
I don’t care who says they know me, they have my name, age, height, and weight, if mommy doesn’t tell you, uncle Sal is picking you up from school, then there is no uncle Sal, I do not know him, scream, and run like hell, pardon my french. I even showed my daughter where to kick people, if someone is trying to grab her, because you just have to, and I’m not one for violence AT ALL, but kill the person, if you need to, to get yourself home and safe. This is one time, when hitting, punching, and kicking, is OK.
Tell them to avoid really private places, especially alone. Your children are far safer at a soccor game with a bunch of moms, dads, and teachers around, then say in the woods behind pathmark walking alone, or with 1 or 2 friends. There are strength in numbers, and preditors are less likely to try and grab a child who is with someone, even if it’s only 1 friend, so getting your child to walk places and go out with either your other children, or their friends, NOT all alone, will help ease a bit of your anxiety, of course we can never be 100% sure, they are fully complying, but you can only do the very best that you can. Just teach them to think smart, and if that includes little ‘Ghostly’ mom and dad on their shoulders telling them good from bad, when you aren’t around, then so be it:)
Explain to your child what he or she should do if they get separated from you in a public place (lost). Stay in one spot. A child that moves around looking for you, not only will likely miss you 10 x’s over, but may run into someone who says, sure I can help you find your mommy…someone whom is NOT on his/her side, so make sure they know
A) don’t panic
B) Don’t try and search for you, no matter how scared they get, remain in one spot.
C) Only trust certain persons. A person who works in the place you are at, wearing a uniform, or a cop if one happens to be in the area, or a teacher he knows, or the parent of a friend he might spot,. A woman who is with children of her own, is a more trustworthy stranger to trust then others.
D) Never leave a place with any person you do not know, and do not trust any single man, meaning one without wife and children with him, even a seemingly nice ‘grandpa’ kind of man all alone, they can still be predators, despite the way that they look. A single woman without kids. She is more likely to be ‘ok’, but it’s not a definite. Let your child know, as long as they stay in one spot, you will be able to find him or her, because you will be looking feverishly, no worries there.
Your child that is old enough to be out alone, should have not only his information, but should memorize the number of a close friend or relative, so that an adult that is more safe (like mentioned above, a woman with children, police officer, worker where they are lost, or in trouble at), can contact the person, and help out your child, in the case that the parents are not home, etc. This also applies to if the child is out with you, and you get separated. The ‘safer adult’, cause I will never say COMPLETELY safe adult, will be able to help them call someone, to get them some assistence, but tell them to NOT MOVE, or go with anybody but someone they absolutely, positively KNOW, and not even that, if you are in the area, going crazy trying to find them.
Teach your child about 9-1-1. I think i taught all of my kids this at 3 yrs old. Don’t call it if mommy got a boo boo, and is screaming, ouchie, ouchie, but do call it, if someone has mommy and is trying to hurt her. You got to make it clear, so a young child who may not understand what a true emergency is, without explanation, can understand when to actually use the 9-1-1 number, and when it is unnecessary.
If they are in trouble outside of home, make sure they know how to use a pay phone, and where the payphones in your town are, and dial 9-1-1 for help if noone trustworthy is there to help them out. Tell them to remember, cops are their friends, if they see one.
Ok…Now, mommy & daddy, this is on you, if you need to locate your missing child lost in a crowd.
Be sure in advance to dress your child, not in black or brown, but in bright, vibrant colors. doesn’t mean you have to dress them, like a cone you find at the site of construction, but you know what I mean. It makes them easier to spot in a crowd, to be brighter and more colorful.
ALWAYS carry a photo of little Betsy or Jason, in your purse. Not a photo from a decade earlier, because something current, you will be able to show others, who may have seen your child wandering, which will help you find him sooner, so be sure and update those wallett photos mom and dad.
Be vocal. Especially in a crowd where you might not be easily seen, you may be more easily heard, by your lost and frightened little one, so remember to be vocal, and don’t care about what others around you are thinking, because trust me, if their child were missing, they would be loud as well. My dad used to have a special whistle, which in looking back, I now think was pretty smart. I always knew, If I heard that sound, he was nearby, and vise-versa, as I would whistle for him as well.
Always remember what you child is wearing, top to bottom, when they go out alone, or just make it common practice in general. It may just help you locate him or her, or help you when explaining to others what little johnny looks like.
Use a free or cheap ID kit, to keep your children’s finger prints on hand. I pray nobody will ever need anything like that, but I advise just having it, just in case, so there are never any regrets. I even save the first teeth as well, but I never plan on needing them, it’s just what I do as a memory anyhow, but also is a good safety precaution, I don’t want to think about, but feel I had to add it in, and write about, but I won’t ‘go there’ again. You know what I’m saying.
If you can’t stay at home and you are a working mom, you may have some fears about your day care provider, or baby sitter.
First off, know their pasts. If it’s a center do research on the center, make sure all is on the up and up, and if it’s a single provider that is coming to your home, or your child to theirs, make you sure do a thorough background check, and ask for multiple references. If they are not cooperative in providing that kind of info. chances are, they are not someone you want to trust with, your most important assets.
Ask questions, and get to know the person or persons, that will be caring for your child. You want to get to know them as best you can anyhow, and have some kind of repour with them.
And always trust your mommy instincts. They are usually correct. If you feel something is not right, or ‘off’, in any way, go someplace else. When my daughter turned 3, I tried her out in pre-school, and the first day, I’m there with my video camera, taping the event, and the teacher, shut the door in my face, literally, and pulled the blinds down, so i could not see in. Guess how many days my daughter went to that school despite the payment being made already? ONE! Now, I don’t know that it meant anything was going on, it could be that they don’t tolerate crazy video taking, picture mommies, such as myself, but my gut said I don’t like the vibe I’m getting here..BOOM, you out, despite their glowing reviews from others.
Then I just decided overall she was too young for the experience, and kept her out until the next year when she went to nursery school. These teachers were much more kid friendly, where she went to, and mommy felt TONS better, about leaving her there. That other teacher. I was talking about, I bet didn’t even have kids of her own, the way she seemed. (I had met with her during orientation, i wasn’t impressed then either).
Go with your gut, cause it’s usually right. Try and instill as much knowledge as you can into your youngsters about staying safe, safety in numbers, not trusting strangers, how to call for help, who to trust when they need to trust in somebody, how to find you in a public place, etc. etc., and just do the best job as a parent that you can.
Now that I am finally ‘the mom’, I understand why parents are as over-protective as they are. As kids we just thought of our parents as annoying, and trying to ruin our lives, when they were just trying to save them. I tell that to my kids, and I think the older one gets it, one day they all will, when they have children of their own. For now, just try and understand, they might not always ‘Get it’, and do the best you can.
Ok, that is all the time I have for today. I hope this was helpful to other mommies out there. The topic is HUGE, so I had to cover it.
Have a fantastic and ‘safe’ day!