Recently an Ekurhuleni mother warned parents that they should keep an eye on their children all time and watch their surroundings like a hawk. This follows an incident at a popular intersection, while driving with her hubby and kids at the back, when someone emerged and wanted to grab her three-year-old-daughter through the window of the car. Of late there have been many incidents of near child abductions and human trafficking coming into the spotlight. That is why it is important to teach your child ways to keep safe
Who is at risk of being abducted
According to the National Co-ordinator of Missing Children South Africa, Bianca van Aswegen children between the ages of 0 – 5-years are the most vulnerable. “They are very young and don’t realise the dangers out there or the dangers people can potentially be to them,” she warns adding that they deal with cases of children that run away from home, also for various reasons such as abuse, but teenagers are more likely to run away than younger children. “We also deal with cases where children are kidnapped or taken for human trafficking purposes, family abductions, opportunistic kidnappings and human trafficking.”
Keeping your kids safe
It’s scary to think that it takes just two seconds for a child to disappear. The only solution is to keep an eye on your child all the time and take extra special precautions to keep them safe – especially when you’re out and about. But it takes 2 seconds for a child to disappear. “Dress young children in bright coloured clothes when going to public places or shopping malls so that they’re easily seen and stand out in a crowd. Never let a young child out of your sight. Children are inquisitive and tend to wonder off by themselves,” Bianca warns.
Missing Children South Africa urges parents to follow these safety tips to make South Africa a safer place for our children:
- Teach your children that even people they know can try to harm them, so they should tell you if another family member or family friend is doing something that makes them feel bad or uncomfortable. Teach them that no one is ever allowed to touch their body.
- Know where your child is at all times, who they are with and what they are wearing.
- Always keep a recent photo of your child with you so you have it available in case of an emergency.
- Teach your child his own name and address as well as your name and number.
- Teach your child not to walk away with anyone other than you or the person who is taking care of him.
- If you have a special needs child, get him a bracelet with emergency contact numbers on the bracelet.
- Teach your child never to get into a car with a stranger, for any reason.
- Let your child know that it’s okay to behave ‘badly’, to bite, kick, claw and scream when someone grabs them. Teach your child to say “I don’t know him/her. He/she wants to take me away!” This will often scare the person trying to take your child.
- Teach your child not to open the door for anyone.
- Let your child know that they don’t have to talk to strangers. They should stand at a safe distance from the person and if the conversation lasts for longer than 5 – 7 seconds, they should leave and find you. Show them what a safe distance looks like.