All it takes is a matter of seconds, and your child can be out of your sight and potentially in danger. Child safety is a real concern in today’s society, where distractions like your cell phone can cause serious consequences for little ones. We uncovered some tips to help keep your children safe from expert Ray Greco.
Greco, is a retired FBI special agent who specializes in working with child abduction. He worked on the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team and is the criminal justice program chair at Globe University-Green Bay, where many of the students are also parents.
He shared 11 safety tips with us that all parents should adopt:
- Be aware of your surroundings.
If you are in a crowded mall, a child can easily get separated from his or her parent. Be attentive and think about what dangers could be lurking around the corner.
“Odds are rare that your child could be abduction,” Greco shares, but everyone should do their part to protect their children.
- Don’t get distracted.
Be careful of being on your cell phone or talking with a friend. As a parent, you need to be watching and vigilant to protect your child from getting hurt.
Greco shared a story where a mother took a phone call while her child was playing in the backyard. After calling police to the scene they discovered she was on the phone for twenty minutes. The family lived near a pond and the child had drowned.
- Know where your kids are and what they are doing.
This is especially important for older children. Kids like to make spur of the moment decisions and don’t always tell you their plans. Make it a priority to know what they are up to and where your child is at all times. Remember children lose sense of time, especially if they need to be home at a certain time.
- Encourage your child to travel or be in groups.
“Groups of kids are safer and puts them in a better situation,” Greco says.
In terms of child abduction, children are rarely pulled from groups.
- Have your child use set routes and routines each day.
Encourage your child not to take the back routes or different shortcuts, as being in places like that can make your child more susceptible.
- Strangers: know which ones to trust and what to do.
- Some strangers are good people you can trust, like police and firefighters.
- If approached by a stranger, yell and scream.
- Use a special keyword if someone else is picking up your child from school.
- Cell phone could be a friend or foe.
Some parents think it might just be easy to track their child by installing an app or tracking their phone. But older teens who realize they are being tracked will either turn the phone off or leave the phone behind.
A cell phone could also be a silver lining if it is on and near the child as it could help track your child down.
- Download the FBI Child ID app.
Grecco highly recommends downloading this app. It is a password protected mobile app to store and update vital information about your child in case they go missing. You can learn more tips from the app as well.
- Create your own child safety kit.
You can create your own kit at home with a few household items. Grab a cotton swab and wipe the inside of your child’s mouth with it. Let it air dry and put in an envelope as a DNA sample. For fingerprints you can use an inkpad and have your child put their prints on a piece of paper.
- Things to consider when home alone.
- Don’t leave young children home alone. Most states have guidelines for how old is legally allowable.
- Teens should not answer the door when an adult is not in the home.
- Never mention you are home alone.
- Pictures are gold.
Try taking pictures of your child each day in the morning. This way you can easily identify what your child was wearing if your child would get lost or abducted.
By using these tips you can help keep your children a little safer and are more educated on child safety and child abduction.