By now, you may already have read or heard about the countless children who are harmed, kidnapped, killed, or those who remain missing to this day. You may have shuddered at the thought that there are people who are really capable of harming innocent children. More often than not, criminals pick their targets at random. Their victims just happened to be at the right place and at the right time — or wrong place at the wrong time. The child may be lounging around in an empty parking lot or was walking all alone.

No matter what you think, child safety is a real issue. There are a number of things you can do to ensure that your child is safe in and out of school. Here are 9 tips which you can impart to your kids:

1. Make him memorize important numbers and addresses

For preschoolers, this is very important. You need to make him memorize your phone number at home and if possible, your home address. This will make it easier for authorities to track you down should he happen to get lost in a mall or in the park.

2. Tell him not go with strangers

Preschoolers should be taught that “strangers” mean those who are not related to him. Tell him that he should only go with mom and dad (or approved family members and friends).

3. Make him understand that the school can be his sanctuary

It’s good if your child rides the school bus. But if you’re the one who picks up your child at school, be firm about telling your child to remain inside the school while you are not yet around.

4. Teach him to observe his surroundings

If your child walks home from school alone, instruct him to observe his surroundings while walking. He may look over his shoulder from time to time or look at parked cars.

5. Get him a whistle

Buy him a whistle that is similar to those being used by cops. Teach your child to blow the whistle repeatedly if a suspicious looking person tries to approach them. This will somehow help in catching the attention of other people. For older kids, you may consider buying them a pepper spray.

6. Teach him self-defense techniques

You may consider giving your child karate lessons. He doesn’t have to become a karate expert; all he needs to know are techniques that could help him get away from potential offenders or criminals. One mother always tells her child to scratch or gouge the eyes of the person who grabs him.

7. Monitor his Internet usage

Criminals such as sex offenders have turned to the Internet to hunt for their next victim. Make sure that you take the time to monitor your child’s Internet usage. Discourage him from giving his personal information (such as his home address, cellphone number, and school) to everybody online. If he has a Facebook account, you should teach him to make his profile private so not everybody can access it.

8. Tell him it’s okay to tell his teacher if he finds something strange in school

Sad to say, even schools are not spared from the reach of criminals. In Denver, a sex offender was suspected photos from a day care center. Instruct your child to go to his teacher immediately if he finds something or someone suspicious.

9. Encourage your child to hang out with friends in your own home

Invite your kid’s friends to your home so you can get to know them better. You can encourage them to hang out in your own home by preparing snacks for them. It will be better if you can reach out to the parents of his friends so you can create a support network.

These tips are not meant to turn your kids into paranoid adults. It’s all about instilling in them the importance of self-preservation. The idea is to make them realize that they also need to look after themselves since you will not be by their side at all times.

(Photo credit: Swing via Shutterstock)

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