While most adults are able to assess risk, young children often lack the wherewithal to protect themselves and to avoid dangerous locations and situations.
In addition to keeping our children safe, it is our obligation, as guardians, to teach our children to make safe choices and to avoid potentially perilous locations. The world is moving at a seemingly faster pace and tragedies are reported daily on the evening news.
We are always concerned about where our children are…and rightly so. Do they always know where YOU are? Do they always have a way to reach you at any given moment?
Keep an updated record of your child’s friends, addresses, and phone numbers, including their guardians’ cellular numbers.
When shopping or in a public place, ensure that distractions don’t create separation from your child. Calmly and carefully discuss what to do and who to approach if separated.
Maintain a file containing your child’s fingerprints, photo, height and weight, identifying marks, etc. Enrolling in programs such as the Lee County Sheriff’s Office “ReUnite” program provides you with a scent kit, used by our agency’s Bloodhounds, and assists our deputies in the event that your child goes missing.
If your child appears hesitant to go to a specific place or residence, or shows signs of discomfort around a particular individual, find out why. Initiate supportive conversation and attempt to understand their concerns. Daily conversations regarding events in your child’s day provide them with an opportunity to openly discuss issues/people that make them feel uncomfortable. It is time well spent!
Before leaving your child home alone, for the first few times, discuss emergency situations and how they should respond. Leave a list of contact numbers. Discuss the “do’s and don’ts” of home security. Review the locking mechanisms in your home, where they are located, and how they work.
With summer upon us and children not in a supervised school setting, it is prudent to take the time to discuss your concerns and safety issues with your child.
(For additional information regarding the Lee County Sheriff’s Office / United Way “ReUnite” program, please call 239-433-2000 or email ReUnite@UnitedWayLee.org.)