Here is a list of things your can do to be proactive in protecting your child as well as being prepared incase your child is missing or abducted.
- Never leave a child unattended while shopping, visiting with neighbors or friends. Under no circumstances should you leave a child alone in a car or truck.
- Teach your child to always tell you where they are going and check with you before going anywhere with anyone.
- Teach your child their address and phone number as well as a second phone number of a friend or relative at an early age. Have them practice writing and reciting this information.
- Teach your child how to make a collect phone call, and begin by saying “Operator I’m in trouble; I need your help.”
- If your child is home alone; teach them to:
- Keep all doors and windows locked.
- Never let anyone know that he or she is alone.
- Never let anyone in the house even if they say they are a police officer or from the fire department. These individuals know how to forcibly enter a house if there is an emergency.
- Keep a current photograph of your child (up close head and shoulders and a profile picture). Update your child’s picture every 6 months to 1 year. Take videos a couple of times a year.
- Have your child fingerprinted.
- Have a current description of your child on hand. This description should include: height, weight, hair color, eye color, if your child is left or right handed, birthmarks, scars, moles, freckles other unique identifying features.
- Be aware of what your child is wearing.
- Know who their friends are, where they live and their phone numbers.
- Create a family secret CODE WORD. Tell your child that if anyone approaches them saying that they are a family friend, they must ask for the secret word. If the person does not know the word your child should run away as quickly as possible and tell a trusted adult.
- Let your child know that their body belongs to them. No one has the right to touch them inappropriately. If this happens or if they feel uncomfortable around someone they should tell you.
- Do not label clothing, backpacks, purses or other clothing item. A child will tend to pay attention to anyone calling him or her by name.
- Teach your child to yell “THIS IS NOT MY PARENT” and run to somewhere safe with a lot of people if someone tries to take them away.
- Teach your child to tell you or another trusted adult immediately if a stranger asks them for help (for example: Can you help me find a pet? Can you give me directions?), offers them candy or gifts, or frightens them in anyway.
|This information was compiled from multiple sources to create a comprehensive document. Some of these sources include: Maryland State Police Maryland’s Missing Children pamphlet, www.childsearch.org and www.missingkids.com.
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