We don’t want to even think about what could happen to our children or anyone in our family. That being said, we also cannot live naively and not prepare to protect ourselves and our children. Part two of our family safety series will focus on personal safety in regards to physical attacks on our persons and possessions. We have to be ever vigilant in our care of our children and our homes.
As a single mom, the risks are sometimes greater than homes with more than one parent. There are a few creative ideas you can implement to help yourself and your children not be as much of target.
- Go to Goodwill and buy the biggest most rugged pair of men’s boots you can find and place them by the front door in obvious view. Granted this will not deter the normal neighbors who see you and your children coming and going with no male presence. But it could deter a prowler who doesn’t belong near you or your kids.
- Carry a body alarm or whistle.
- Don’t place bushes, shrubs and trees near windows inside or outside of your home. This gives burglars/attackers potential hiding places.
- When walking to your vehicle, keep your keys in your hand with the longest key grasped between your thumb and forefinger pointing outward like a weapon. If someone comes at you from behind, reach behind and stab your attacker in the eye or anywhere else on the face you can reach.
- Download the Silent Bodyguard App for iPhone. The Silent Bodyguard is a mobile app that sends an SOS distress signal with GPS coordinates to immediately reach potential rescuers without alerting any onlookers.
- Review the local sexual offender registry with your children. You never know how remembering someone’s face from somewhere can help in just the right moment.
The Boy Scouts of America have The Three R’s of Personal Safety and Protection to fend off Sexual Abuse:
- Recognize situations that place you at risk of being molested, how child molesters operate, and realize that anyone could be a molester.
- Resist unwanted and inappropriate attention. Resistance will stop most attempts at molestation.
- Report attempted or actual molestation to a parent or attempted or actual molestation to a parent or other trusted adult. This prevents further abuse and helps to protect other children. Let the child know he or she will not be blamed for what occurred.
Teach children to trust their instincts. Explain that if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable, they should get away as fast as they can. Tell them that sometimes adults they know may make them feel uncomfortable, and they should still get away as fast as possible and tell another adult what happened. Reassure children that you will help them when they need it.
Teach your children to be assertive. Make sure they know that it’s okay to say no to an adult and to run away from adults in dangerous situations.
Encourage your children to play with other children. There’s safety in numbers!
For the sake of being prepared, what should you do if you find yourself in the worst case scenario?
- Keep a current, complete physical description of your child, current photograph, fingerprints, current medical records and dental charts, and sample DNA in a child safety kit. You can get a free Child Safety Kit mailed to you from Polly Klaas. Or you can download a kit here.
If you or anyone you know is in the awful position of realizing their child is missing, follow these guidelines:
- Immediately report the child missing to local law enforcement.
- Ask law enforcement to enter the child into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Persons File.
- Limit access to the home until law enforcement arrives and has the opportunity to collect possible evidence.
- Give law enforcement investigators all information on the child including the child safety kit contents and the circumstances related to their disappearance.
- Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
If you or anyone you know has information regarding child pornography, child molestation, child prostitution and/or the online enticement of children, log onto www.cybertipline.com. This is the NCMEC tip website.
For further resources regarding the protection of children from abduction and exploitation, go to these websites.
- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Department of Justice
OJJDP Publications-Child Protection
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
- NCMEC’s website to teach children about dangers on the internet:
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crime against Children Program webpage:
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Tip and Publix Leads webpage:
- McGruff the Crime Dog:
Information for child safety, identification, abduction, fingerprinting and crime prevention
God willing, none of you will ever need this information, nor will anyone you know. Hopefully, this series will make you aware of the conversations you need to have with your children of any age. Periodically bring these topics up. I think as parents sometimes we think, “OK, whew! Glad that’s done!” Then go on and never bring it up again because of the subject matter. This is a mistake. We are doing our kids a disservice by not reminding them that it’s OK to look out for themselves and to have personal boundaries of all kinds.