10 HOLIDAY TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR CHILDREN SAFE
HAPPY HOLIDAYS – REMEMBER TO STAY SAFE!
The holiday season can be a stressful and busy time of year, a time of year where we need to ensure we remain vigilent about keeping our children safe. Lighting Their Way Home has 10 quick tips for keeping your children safe and happy while navigating busy shopping malls through the holidays.
10 HOLIDAY TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR CHILDREN SAFE IN PUBLIC
- DO NOT allow your children to go to the rest room alone. Use a family washroom or take your children into the stall with you. Statistically, the men’s room isn’t the safest place for a child to use alone. If you feel comfortable letting your older child (at least 9 years old) use the men’s room alone, stand outside the door and call in as your child enters, “I’m right out here if you need me.” It’s a clear signal to anyone who may be hanging around in there that there’s a parent close by. Your child is less of a target if a potential predator thinks there’s a chance he could be caught. If you think your child’s taking too long, open the door and call in, “Is everything okay?” If you don’t get an answer or are unsure, enter the restroom immediately to be sure your child is safe. (Informing your child that you’ll be doing this will encourage him to answer you quickly and not linger.)
- Dress your children in bright coloured clothing, making them easier to spot in a crowd. NEVER dress children in clothing which displays their first or last names, which allows people an opportunity to start a conversation with your child.
- Assign a designated meeting spot with older children should you become separated from them and if they are shopping alone, ensure that they are always with at least one other child. Children in groups are MUCH safer than a single child alone..
- Teach young children to look for people who can help, such as police officers, security guards, employees in uniform with name tags or other mothers with children (**usually the best for a missing child to approach**).
- Teach younger children to stay close to the area where they became separated. Teach them to NEVER leave the mall or store, reminding them that you would never leave the mall or store without finding them.
- Make a rule with your children that you must always be able to see them, and they must always be able to see you.
- NEVER leave children unattended in play areas, arcades or toy stores. Predators will patrol these areas looking for unsupervised children.
- Consider using a harness for toddlers prone to running off. There are plenty of cute ones out there making them fun for children. Remember, your child’s safety is what’s most important, so don’t worry about what others think.
- Make sure children know your cell phone number. Another excellent idea, especially for younger children, is to create a laminated ID card with their name and your contact information on it. Place it in the bottom of a child’s shoe, or a zippered pocket. Remind your children to show a ‘safe person’ (as mentioned above) the card should they become lost.
- Carry up to date information and photos of your child. An Amber Stick, which is essentially just an USB drive, is HIGHLY recommended for all parents. Not only will it hold all of the information and pictures you need for your children, it can be directly inserted into the computers in law enforcement vehicles ensuring your child’s information is spread almost instantly.
We hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday season!
From everyone here at Lighting Their Way Home, Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy 2014!!