How to keep your child safe? 5 tried and tested ways

This happened in Delhi. 

A  5-year-old boy was kidnapped from inside a bus while on his way to school. It was around 7 a.m. The boy was abducted on the eve of the Republic Day, as he was sitting next to his sister. Ravi and Pankaj came on a bike, entered the bus, shot the driver Naresh Thapa in the thigh to make sure that they wouldn't be followed, abducted the boy and fled with him just as everyone was watching. The kidnappers made a demand of Rupees 60 lakh ransom from the family. He was later rescued by the Crime Branch in the early hours of Tuesday (11 days after the incident), following an encounter. Courtesy of the news: The Times of India

Most of us are well aware of this incident. No parent can imagine what it is like to have their child go missing. It is one of our greatest fears. However, this is not a time to worry or stick on to illogical beliefs (kidnapping can happen anywhere, anytime, and to anyone). It is about time we took action. By enlightening and warning children about the dangers of being abducted surrounding them at home, school, on the way to school, at the park, the mall, and even online, and taking safety measures, we can bring down the chances of that ever happening. Tell your kid keeping himself from danger is mainly depends on his or her reaction against a threat. We, parents have to prepare children for that.

The child should be aware about his or her whereabouts:

This is the important factor most of the parents overlook. Even if the officials are able to rescue children from a gang more often the children under 4 or 5 years are not able to convey any details about them other than their parent's name. Therefore, make sure you drill the following details into your child's memory. 

  • House address
  • Official name of parents
  • The route to home
  • State's name(the kidnappers usually takes the child to another state)
  • Important landmarks near your house
  • Contact number

Teaching your kids the following methods may take around 30 minutes. However, it is worth the time and effort as it may make the difference between life and death. Here are 5 tried and tested ways on how to keep your child safe. 

1. Teach your child how to notice potential signs of danger in someone's behavior:

Villains can have an appearance of "Hero": Children and adults often portray abductors as scary-looking cunning and rough older men who can be easily differentiated from the crowd. Remember in the Delhi kidnap case, the man who gunned down and arrested are in their twenties.  Convince your child this horrible act can be done by those who are close to them or whom they are familiar with and need not be look "creepy".  Tell them anyone acting strangely around them should be counted as a suspect. Teach your kids to trust their gut instincts. Teach yourself how to assess the safety around you and develop your own effective gut instinct

A familiar person can also be a stranger: And coming into "familiarity", the child may notice a person on the way to school every day. During the first few days, he or she might just smile. Then eventually, after several days, they may initiate a conversation. Tell your child, he or she they saw in the street regularly is still a stranger in all aspects. Therefore being friendly with them is still danger. Ask them to always aware of the surroundings when they are in a public place. Getting lost in thoughts itself is dangerous as it let them off guard. 

Adult doesn't need your help: Many kidnappings happen when kidnappers tempt children into their cars or their reach, by offering candies, a lost puppy story, or asking help with directions (in case of big children). We teach our kids to be helpful. But also emphasize that an adult doesn't really need help from small kids. Teach them to be wary of unknown cars that pull up beside them and not to speak to anyone in the cars they do not know, tell your child to run away or attract attention from the other people around if anyone comes up with any plan to get them into a vehicle. Tell your children that it is never okay to get into someone's car even it's a person he is familiar with, even if that person says their parents sent them to pick them up. 

Don't share personal information with strangers: Educate them on what type of information is okay to share and what isn't appropriate to share if confronted with questions from someone they do not know. 

2. Teaching your child to run and scream if they smell some trouble:

  • Screaming is the most important factor that helps your child to escape from the neared danger of abduction or kidnap. You should give them a suggestion on a practical way of attracting attention and running away if they smell danger.
  • Tell your children that if they are being followed or chased in a car, start running in the opposite direction of the car screaming to attract the attention of the public. This gives them more time to escape as the car will have to turn around to follow them. 
  • Tell your children that if a stranger tries to abduct them – there is no need to follow "Good Manners". Tell them that they can hit, scream, and make a scene, if the smell something fishy.
  • If they are in a store or supermarket (these are the places more likely chosen by a kidnapper), tell them to knock things off the shelf. Knocking things over will get the attention of more people at same time and obviously, people will be curious about what is happening. 
  • Who are you? Help!, Leave my hand!,  I don't know you! Help me, etc. are some easily screaming ways to attract attention.

3. Take these precautionary measures when you go with your child to overcrowded places like Malls:

  • Once they get lost in a public place like mall there is another risk. Some pervert can pacify and take the kid inside their shops or isolated corners. Therefore, educate the child to stay among the crowd when they left alone.
  • Tell your children that if they are lost always try to ask help of a mom with kids. They are the safest option. Because they may not be able to find a policeman always. 
  • Or ask the child to shout aloud "Mama, Papa" or "I can't find my parents" definitely more than one person from the crowd will come up with help. This will bring down the chances of children ending up in a hand of a pervert.
  • Avoid clothing or key chains with your child's name on them when you go to public places. This will increase the chances of kidnappers approach you kids calling their name, which can put them off-guard. 
  • When you go to an amusement park or any crowded area, there might be police posts, emergency stations, or information counters. Make out such places and enlighten your kids to go there if they get lost. If they understand the emergency hot spots, the chances of abducting the "lost" child will be reduced.
  • Another important thing we can teach the child is if a stranger tries to carry him away (in crowded places this often happens) ask the kid never cry. If the child cries, people more often assume it as a part of the tantrum and it's the kid's parent refuse to buy something the child want badly like a toy or a ride. Instead, tell the child to call out for mother and father. Thereby, the people will easily sense the person who is carrying the child is not his parent.

4. Family Code:

Make up a family code word. Avoid using too predictable and common words, on the other hand never use hard to remember or out of ordinary that may create doubt.  When you send your kid to school, you should have to make him wear the  ID card. Most of the card provides the personal detail of the child, bringing down the workload of a kidnapper, ID is a must taught will help the child in many ways and cannot be avoided.  Here comes the significance of family code. Even if the kidnapper gets all personal information, he cants trick the child without the family code. Once the family code is formed, you can use it in different occasions. 

  • Use it if you send someone to pick up your child. If the person approaches with put family code, strictly ask your child to not go with him what all he says. 
  • If your child is at a friend's house, and something is making them feel unsafe, they can call you and use the code word. Remember, most of the time, unexpected incidents are reported, with near family friends or relatives.
  • If you are in public and there is a safety threat – you can use your code to warn your children to exit quickly or get down.
  • If the stranger approaches him not know the code or use the code, ask the child to immediately run back to his teacher screaming. These will definitely force the kidnapper to drop his mission.

Once you use your code, you should change it immediately. It's  like a "one-time password"

5. Gps Tracking device

GPS tracking devices are now emerging to be one of the most commonly used precautions used by concerned parents across the globe, with companies like kidsport GPS developing products for just this purpose. Your child can thus be monitored using most electronic devices such as phones, computers, tablets, and so on. GPS tracking devices as sold by brands like kidsport are accompanied by many features such as an alert button for your child, secured latch, and text alert systems in case the device was removed, or should your child bypass a particular boundary as set by you.

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