Approximately 60,000 children are reported missing each year in Canada. For parents, this is one of the scariest times of their lives. The good news is that most children who are reported missing are not missing at all—there is usually a miscommunication about their whereabouts or they turn up with family members or friends. Use the following tips to help prevent an abduction from occurring.
- Have an identification photograph taken of your child at least every six months.
- Have your child fingerprinted at your local police station.
- Be aware of your child’s activities on the Internet and remind them that personal information should not be given out to strangers online.
- Supervise your children when you are out in public and set boundaries for older children for where they can go without you.
- Do not allow your children to do door-to-door fundraising without you.
- Do not leave your child alone in a car or stroller.
- Check references of babysitters, day care providers and home cleaning professionals before allowing them near your children
- Inform your children’s school when someone other than you is going to pick them up.
- Avoid dressing your children in clothing with their names on it. Children tend to trust people who call them by their first name, and these identifiers are bait for predators.
- Explain the concept of a stranger to your children and tell them that strangers may not look scary but can hurt them.
Safety Takeaways for Children
Be sure to tell your children the following to help keep them safe:
- Never accept gifts or candy from strangers or go anywhere with someone they don’t know, even if it sounds like fun.
- If someone your kids do not know tries to get them to go with him or her, they should run away and make as much noise as they can.
- Always tell you or trusted adult if a stranger asks them personal questions or makes them feel uneasy.
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