According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children there are over 3,000 non-family (not taken by a parent or family member) child abductions reported to police each year. To prevent your child from becoming a victim, it is important to stress the following safety tips when talking with your child about personal safety issues:
- Set rules with your child about what their boundaries are when playing outside of your home. The rules should include playing in groups and where to go in case of emergency.
- Emphasize with your child the importance of never accepting a ride from someone they don't know or approaching anyone unfamiliar to them.
- If possible, don't allow your child to go into a public restroom by themselves. If necessary, try to carry on a conversation with them outside of the restroom while they are separated from you.
- Do not allow your child to go to a mall, the movies, video arcades or parks by themselves.
- Teach them the rules of staying safe if they are at home alone. (Examples would include opening the door to talk with someone they don't know.) Be sure to have a plan in place with them on what to do if something happens that makes them uncomfortable and who to call if that should happen.
For further information, please contact one of the officers in the Bureau of Community Affairs 636-537-3000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.